Monday, August 10, 2015

Alhambra and The Dog Days of Summer—and the prelude to the fall

The summer days tend to be a down time for me when it comes to completing new projects. Usually I have not as much time to dedicate to the Hobby and in general when it comes to gaming, mostly I play board games with family and friends, which is also a lot of fun.
Lately we have been playing a lot of Alhambra, and its extensions, and I remembered how much I used to like this game. It is fun, fast, easy and definitely a great way to spend an evening. That led me to dig back into my board game bookcase just to check for contenders for other nights and besides the obvious Carcassone we ended up playing a game called Antwerp, which basically is a game that models shipping through the docks of Antwerp. I though the game was neat and enjoyed it, but it did not seem to excite the rest of we decided to go for a sure bet and will play the settler of catan, in the American map version, the next time we play. 

The Summer has not taken  away my mind from the projects I want to complete and so I decided to be more organized than at the beginning of the this has been a bit of a mid-year revision of the state of the hobby for me:

Force on Force:

My Friend Steve set up a WWII FoF game using Flames of War based miniatures and it was great! we had a few people playing and some just watching and we had a great time! definitely a good option to use all my Flames of War stuff!

I plan on finishing my  miniatures for the Bush Wars book scenarios, then do the Russian and Chechnya Scenarios and finally the Malaysian emergency ones that I discovered from Britannia miniatures. Eventually I would love to do some for the Cold War gone Hot book, but one thing at the time.

By Fire and The Sword:

My friend Frank is running a tournament and I am excited to participate. My Muscovite army is ready, although I think I will add another artillery piece, as it was very effective last time I played. I still need to finish the division level ranks of my Muscovites, but I think I will do it one regiment at the time. I also have a transylvanian skirmich set I might do before anything else so I can see how they play, as they look very cool.

Art de La Guerre

I really like this game, and unfortunately it has not  caught on were I normally play, so I will start going back again to the regular group that plays it so I can keep playing it as I really enjoy it. I have a Gaul/Dacian/Briton army primed ready to finish that I will work on and also have a triunvirat roman and a Spartan/Athenian/Theban army that need to be finished, so my work is cut out there! although I did finish my Catalan company and I completed enough other cavalry and infantry bases that I can probably field a good number of lists from 997 through the mid 1400's.

Drop Zone Commander:

I really like this game and I have really not given it much attention this year. My friend Scott is putting up an Escalation league in which I plan to participate. I already have a sizable UCM army (painted in red, which I call my Space Communists),   so I might start a new army, I have talked about creating a PHR army, all in black and steel and calling it my Space fascists so I can have both of my armies find planet Stalingrad...:-) so That is probably what I will do......

Muskets and Tomahawks / Land of the Free:

I want to continue expanding my Armies, in particular finish my British force and start putting together my bases to try a Land of the free test game, this actually is a pretty high priority for me because I REALLY love this period.


I love playing this game! so I plan on harassing Frank and Steve to play it more often. I have a ton of Prussians that I want to have painted, but Marc, a friend from the ADLG group will likely commision paint them for me. He does a great job and I like his style (he previously painted up my Brits). On the other hand, I will complete my Brits by painting the Dutch-Belgian contingent that I wanted to add.....

Saga, Infinity, Deus Vult, Chain of Command, Black Powder, WAB/ WC, etc:

There are individual projects that I want to work on but i will pace myself. Most of them are a labor of love so, I am taking it easy and not rushing them. I wan to keep adding to my SAGA stock to play on the Huzzah monthly tournaments and now that my Friend Peter is back, I want to play Deus Vult and WAB/WC again.........Infinity is coming out with lots of cool new things and I really used to enjoy playing that game, so I might start showing up to play at the infinity nights at Victory comics from time to time so I can get some games in.

Anyway, these are my intentions and we will see how it goes according to the time that I have during the rest of the year,

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Muscovites, French Napoleonics, and the Battle of Fallujah.

My Friend Steve and I have been getting together fairly regularly to play Force on Force on Sundays, and this last Sunday we gave the battle of Fallujah another go. We have tried one of the Scenarios from the Fallujah book  several times, switching sides so no one gets stuck playing the irregulars all the time,  and it has been rather interesting. We are really sold on Force on Force, so we keep playing it and setting up scenarios for it, and it has been rather enjoyable. In last Sundays game, Peter and Ben Joined us, and Scott sat and watch us go at each other, and it was a challenging and interesting game. In the End Peter and I (we were playing the American Side) were lucky enough to have gotten a fog of war card in which a Delta team was introduced into the battle. This team was able to Breach and clear its objective and thanks to them we were able to win the scenario by one point, one point! the game was brutal for both sides and honestly, you don;t really know to which side  the game will tilt until the end.

The Saturday Before, I went   to Scott's place to try my newly painted Muscovites for By Fire and the Sword, of which here are some pics:
 We had a lot of fun! I discovered that the Muscovite play well in numbers, and while they are not particularly good individually, as a massed group, specially under cover, can be pretty tough to crack. The hero of the day was my light artillery. 

Last Thursday as a  group at Huzzah Hobbies we played Muskets and Tomahawks and it was a great quick game.  That game is a lot of fun and plays fast, which is a great plus for me. Can't wait until I can run a demo of land of the Free.

The previous weekend I played Blucher with Frank (you can check his battle rep on his blog), and I played with my French against his Prussians. We played 300 points and I Included Napoleon on my list and he included Blucher, because of this each we were pretty tough to crack, so we ended up having a classic long hard game that was a lot of fun and very satisfying. Definitely Blucher, for the organizational level for which is written, is a great game!

Besides this I have been mostly working on my Rhodesian force and force scenarios and I started painting a set of coureurs de Bois for Muskets and Tomahawks as well as some Gauls/Britons/Dacians for ADLG.

Lots of gaming going on and lots of Projects getting done, lets see what the summer brings.

By the way Check Scott's Blog and Frank's Blog (they are listed on my list of blogs on this page) they have reports and pictures of the games we played together.....

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Rhodesian Bush wars and The Catalan Company

I have been playing Force on Force with my friend Steve for a while now. We get together on Sundays and we go through the Scenarios of some of the  FoF books. We have been playing mostly from the Afghanistan scenario book, and mostly infantry missions, but we will start in a couple of weeks playing a scenario from the Fallujah  book which includes vehicles. We really like the system and we have been having a lot of fun, so much so that I ended up buying all the scenario books and have been going through them in detail. In particular I really like the Bush wars one, and I am putting together forces to go through the scenarios that take place in the Rhodesian bush war, the Congo Crisis and the South African Border wars. These wars are really interesting because they were really proxy wars between the Soviet Union and the USA in many ways (with Americans fighting as "freelancers" in some of them), and even if for the general public they remain somewhat obscure, they are tactically and historically very interesting and definitely fun to wargame.

I worked on some African bush terrain last week, and it is coming out nicely. I bought some aquarium plants at Michael's and some decorative dried brush

then I cut the tall grass in squares and glued them to round bases. Then I brushed some Elmer's glue to the bases and buried the base in modeling sand. After it dried, I stuffed some of the dried brush in between the blades of tall grass and added a bit more glue.

then I took the base and lightly spray painted brown on the base and on the tips of the grass to give it a dried and distressed effect. and once it dried out I cut with scissors the extra dried brush that was sticking out to make it look like it was a patch of over grown grass in the jungle.

 I need to make quite a few of these, but they do not really take much time to make and they are so much cheaper to make than trying to buying them commercially, and in all honesty, they look nicer than some of the ones that I have seen online.

Another project that I am working on is my Catalan Company for Art de la Guerre. There is a tournament coming and I want to get them ready to play. I finished some of my Aragonese cavalry  and started some Teutonic knights with metal barding for another list that I am putting together.

So, Next, I have to finish up all my Almughavars and start painting Rhodesian light infantry figures and Alouette III Helicopters.....

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Force on Force, Saga and the inate beauty of the unexpected

For the past few weeks I was so focused on the projects I had lined up and I was trying really hard not to get sidetracked, however life is not so straight forward. 

My Friend Frank tells me that I am a butterfly when it comes to my attention span in regards to gaming (and pretty much on all my interests). That is fairly accurate on the surface, however I would call myself a true follower of the fundamental principles of chaos theory: amongst all the chaos there is spontaneous appearing order, what some scientists and mathematicians have called the innate beauty of the unexpected.

On a whim, I decided to participate in a Saga tournament at Huzzah Hobbies, my local shop. I had played the game extensively when it first came out a couple of years ago and like with many things people around the store began paying attention to other games with time and  we never revisited the game. With the recent release of their medieval volume, saga began attracting attention again, and new players. So my local shop started to run organized play in the form of mini tournaments. I had always enjoyed playing the game, and my warband —the Welsh—is one of the first 28mm figs armies that I painted, so even with painting mistakes and pools of dried superglue in their hands and spears I remain emotionally attached to them.So when the opportunity arose I went to the tournament...and I had a blast! I had so much fun! the group of people were just fun to play with and the game was as much fun as I remember playing. John, one of my friends that participated, played with a list that he scratch built representing the Knight who say "ni" from Monty python! it was great!

The Knights who say "ni"
So, after that, I went and re-read the books and checked the lists and bought a few more figures and I have a few warbands that I am working on now, since I want to play the game at least every time that a new local tournament comes up, but more on that later on.

Another event that occurred is that my friend Steve and I began playing regularly Force on Force. We had been getting together fairly regularly for the past couple of months on Sundays to play Heroes over Normandie (great game by the way!), and we decided to give Force on Force a try, and I can say that we have had very intense, interesting and entertaining sessions! that game is definitely one of my favourites! we began by playing the intro scenario that Ambush alley games has, and then we tried the first scenario from the rule book, and now we have been playing scenarios from the Enduring Freedom companion book, which is the Afghanistan campaign book.
Steve has been very generously providing  the terrain and the figures and it has been just great!

Last couple of weeks we have been playing operation Mutay 1 and 2 from the Enduring freedom book, I have been playing the Brits and he has been playing the Taliban (in the past scenarios he was playing the Marines and I was playing the insurgents).  here are some pics: 

 Once we get on a roll, I will post a game report, as for now we are mostly concentrating in understanding the game play and just having fun. I have gotten so into playing Force and Force that I started to build some forces for it that I always wanted to build, like Russians and Chechens, and The participants in the African Bush wars of the 60's, 70's and 80's (the wars in the Belgian Congo, Rhodesia, Angola and South Africa). So for the moment I am having a great time with unexpected games and its been very rewarding!

I have not left Art de la Guerre or By fire and the Sword on the side, I am still putting armies together for them, in fact next time I write I intend to write about my Muscovites for By fire and the Sword and / or the armies that I am putting together for ADLG. I also expect to play some Muskets and tomahawks periodically and hope to run demos for Land of the free before the summer is over. It just seems that I have been able to find and regularly play, by complete chance, rule systems that I wanted to play for a long time but that the opportunity had not presented itself.

So I learned that by leaving my self open for random occurrences, I was able to jump on this unexpected wave and have a great time.....

Lets see what the future brings next.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Art de la Guerre and By fire and the Sword

Sometimes even the best of plans gets derailed by reality and sometimes by unrealistic expectations.
I had planned all my projects to happen with large enough intervals of time between them so that I would not face the dreaded "pile of lead"  accumulating on the projects table, but Alas, it happened....yet again.....

I received my orders from Old glory ( FIW) and Wargamer (BFAS) on the same day, and my Franco Prussian armies that I ordered from Pendraken are likely to arrive very soon, so I will end up with a pile of lead to work on instead of having the luxury of doing one project at the time.

At the same time I have been playing Art de la Guerre (ADLG) with My Friends Frank, Scott and Al at our local gaming shop and its really been great. I have been preparing and painting a lot of new armies for the game (see picture)and so that has been keeping me busy while I was waiting for the other stuff to arrive.
So far I have decided to put together a Teutonic Knights army, Triumvirate Romans, Spartans, Athenians, ancient British, Gauls, some type of crusaders or Frankish armies  and some late medieval knight armies, all in 15mm.
Eventually I will build republican Romans and  Carthaginians but I want to do those in 28mm along side with all the 28mm ADLG armies that I need to condition from my WAB armies.

The games I played in the last 2 weeks were fun although I only thought of taking pictures in two of them. I played Frank with his amazingly painted Tamils, and I shirked my duties that day and forgot my figs so Frank loaned me his also very nicely painted Patrician Romans, so Pilum vs Elelphants! and I can tell you, an enraged elephant that is about to die is not fun, as my trampled front units can attest!

Luckily I had peanuts in my pocket, so I distracted his charging Elephants and was able to break his line and take a narrow victory......

Then I played against Scott and his Late Ottomans with my Catalan Company, and his cavalry stomp me, although I had a few good rounds. The next game was against Al and I played his Nikephorian Byzantines, again with my Catalan company, and he completely destroyed them (funny enough I did not take pictures of these games, not intentionally though).
I went back to the drawing board and redesigned my Catalan Company and I played Al again, this time he decided to use his Ayyubid Arab army and it was a tough close game, but I was able to break his lines and won. But again it was close, a difference of 5 break points.

 It was great to have played these games and look forward to maybe playing once or twice again this week.I really like the game (ADLG) and its been a lot of fun.

As I mentioned before I received my BFAS shipment, and although they missed a few things that they will mail later, I still received a lot of stuff.I got Muscovites, Transilvanians and Polish. So I have several weeks of work just with that order. will post pics as I progress.

My Old glory FIW stuff arrived too at the same time. I will start doing a few pieces in between other projects to change air. There is no rush on that particular set of models so, I will take my time since its one of my favourite time periods. and I want to do them well.

The only things left that I have on the line for now are the Franco-Prussian armies  in 10mm that I ordered from pendraken, The Spanish civil war 10mm and 28mm armies that I want to put together and the Great northern war and late 17th century armies I was putting together. The Franco-Prussian stuff I will work on probably by Memorial day, and the rest I still need to order certain elements for each  of those projects, so they are at the back of the line until I get everything I need to put them together.

Finally, There are two articles that I will write, one, a consumer reports-type approach to wargaming rules for which I am trying to enlist some of my friends and fellow wargamers to help me out with this. I will post more on the subject as I develop this idea. The second is an article on the pluses and minuses of painting in 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm as I will be painting a small group of miniatures in each of these scales and report my experience as a painter with "all thumbs for fingers" and will make sure to include nice pics to go along my painting disasters and horrors that will probably ensue.

Until then, Game on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

As with all best intentions, reality seems to straighten us out when we least expect it. I have been trying to put more time working on my wargaming stuff and life and work keeps getting in the way of my best planned objectives.

However a few things have moved along my work table (coffee table or kitchen table really) and that makes me feel that I have not wasted my time in the past weeks.

so I received the pendraken order with the spanish civil war (SCW) and great norther war (GNW) figs that I ordered. Mostly because I wanted to see if they were suitable for my purposes. They are great miniatures! pendraken really makes a top notch job casting them, and they were very attentive and responsive when I emailed them, since they took a long time to get here (about 3 weeks). I found out that they actually cast them on demand, I suppose that they do not do that with all the more popular ranges, but I have to say that I do not believe that they get an order every day for SCW or GNW figs and hence the need to cast them as orders come.

In any case, for as nice figures as they are I realized that 10mm is an awkward scale  for what I want to do with them, at least for the SCW ones. 10mm is great to create the feel of a large army and still have nice detail on the figures.  Arguably 15mm is similar but 10mm really gives you the "mass feel" when you play at the Corps level. So I think what I will do is order a few more packs and build a small force of each side ( a batallion of each kind, composed of 3 companies and each company with 3 platoons of about 10 figs each), so I can play small battles in a small table.
For the original purpose that I had for them I think I will use instead empress 28mm. so, this puts this project back at the start of the line.

For the GNW, I think they work, specially for the rules that I want to use. however, because I really like the look of the period, I think I will also build 28mm swedish and russian forces using musketeer and foundry figs (they are sooooo nice!)  but due to the price of these figs, I will do this slowly, probably in batches of 24 at the time.

Checking these pendraken figs convinced me to do my Franco-Prussian war project in 10mm and ordered a French and a Prussian army pack from them. I am actually really excited about this.

Finally I have jumped with both feet into the FIW and AWI periods. I have been working on my AWI British (Perry 28mm) and I am waiting for my old glory FIW order. In the mean time I have watched the last of the Mohicans and The Patriot a couple of times,  and I have been reading the classic work by Francis Parkman in two volumes "Pioneers of France in the New World" which although written in 1865, still reads really well and its a lot of fun!

Anyway, I will post pics next time of what I have accomplished so far

Sunday, March 01, 2015

New Year, New Life, New Projects

Although it is already the beginning of March, It still feels like a new year. There are several projects that I have started and that I have promised myself I will finish this year.

Although I have a strong preference for Historical wargaming, I also enjoy Fantasy and Science Fiction wargaming and they have to compete for my painting and gaming time with all the other historical interests I have , so I decided that this year I was going to dedicate a bit more of my time to care, update and complete my Fantasy and Science Fiction collections.

Similarly, I want to finally this year complete at least the core of several historical projects that I really wanted to work on, and so I began at the beginning of the year by ordering and putting together the materials necessary to doing them.

In the first place I am working on expanding my French and Indian wars French in 28mm so I can use them not only with Muskets and Tomahawks but also with the new ruleset  Land of the Free, which I find not only interesting but nice in its relaxed approach without sacrificing the period feel. 

After my French are done, I have started a British AWI force that is assembled (perry 28mm) primed and set in popsicle sticks ready to paint. My intent was to use them for both FIW and AWI, but in all honesty, it kind of bothers me that they look out of period when I put them next to my French, so I decided I will do also FIW British courtesy of me becoming party of the Old glory army and the discount that it entails. My only concern is that the Brits might be a little smaller than my warlord French, if this is the case I might use the blue moon collection of the period. 
Evidently to complete the period (1750's-1810's) I need Continentals and Woodlands indians,  these I plan to complete with Wargames Factory miniatures, which in this range they are pretty nice for the price. 

The Next project I have embarked upon is putting together a core of Nationalists and republicans fighting the Spanish civil war. I plan to do this with Pendraken 10mm. I have ordered a few packs to try them out, will post more about that once I get them and confirm that this is the way I want to go.

Next on the List is also a 10mm Pendraken project, I will build the core of a French, Italian, Austrian, German and allies and Danish armies for the rules 1870, 1866, 1859 and Zouave II. I have been wanting to do this for the longest time, and although I consider this a long term project I wanted to start this year.

 Next is also another project that involve the 1660's-1720's period including the many wars that it encompasses. I do not know if I will use 10mm, or 28mm,  Pendraken, old glory, foundry, wargames factory or other miniatures. I want to build armies for the great norther war and  the wars of Louis XIV. I do not like the term Marlbourian wars as the English were not involved in all of these wars and it does not really cover the entire time period, and the term lace wars I just find silly so I guess I will refer to them as simply as 17th and early 18th century european wars. This is a LONG term project but I have ordered a few Pendraken figs in their great northern war range to see how they turn out. There are many really good rules sets for this period, in particular I like Maurice, Under the lily Banners and Age of Reason.

Finally I want to finish all my 15mm medieval, dark ages and classical armies for Art de la Guerre, as they have been sitting on my project table now for a very long time and there are quite a lot of them. I need to work on my Roman and Greek armies in 28mm that have been waiting for attention for a long time, and I have a ton  of stuff coming in from the By fire and the sword kickstarter, so this is the year that I have promised myself to finish all of them.

On the planing stages of course are my plans to complete a PHR army for Drop Zone Commander, refit and update my infinity, Anima tactics, and Eden forces, dust up an complete my Flames of war Strelkovy, perhaps add a section of Ghurkas and a Stuart to my Chindits, continue working on my 28mm medieval Arab armies, and of course give some long deserved TLC to my Lizardmen army, which for many reasons, mostly emotional attachment, they are my favorite miniatures army I posses. 

This is quite a lot I think, but we will see how much I can accomplish.