EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Straight at her Mr. Mowatt

Interesting day yesterday. On my way to Ron's for a game I was annoyed to be greeted by a flat. Part of life's version of friction and as with the most of the military sort I handled it by being alert, trained and equipped and was delayed but not critically so nor prevented from accomplishing my mission.

Sails of Glory, Game 1. HMS Somethingorother uses her superior seamanship to rake her French opponent. Unfortunately she only had 2 working guns left and was shortly forced to strike her colors having suffered so many crew casualties as to be unable to work what was left of the ship.

While trying to replace the flat with the spare,  in the teeth of a -21C wind, alternating woolen mittens which kept my fingers warm with a pair of workgloves which allowed me to grasp smallish things like lugnuts and which didn't snag on the jack, my mind wandered, as it would, to  wargaming the Russian Civil War.

Despite the fact that Russia in 1918 was a big place and had more than 1 season, inevitably one seems to think of snow. So it was that my first order for this collection included a lot of guys in great coats and fur caps and my intention was to do finish the bases white and do a winter board to play on. A snow board one might say since it seems fitting to acknowedge the winter games.

However, as I crouched there muttering sweet nothings to reluctant nuts I had a moment of clarity. I'm not trying to do a serious re-creation or a study of the RCW or of the many ways people suffered, I'm playing an heroic fantasy and part of me, if only a subconscious part,  is picturing me down there mounted on a dashing steed (hopefully not the big  black brute Piggy who was my charger when I took riding classes while in college) . I don't have any real urge to imagine my self freezing various appendages in the midst of a battle so why should I want to put my toy soldiers through it?

Time to paint some Cossacks and Hussars in summer dress and at last more of those marvelous Zvezda infantry in their summer dress. My RCW will take place in summer!

Sails of Glory Game 2. Having found two new ships to replace the ones sunk or taken in the first engagement, the brave, bold but disciplined Royal Navy sails on in line ahead towards a gaggle of Frenchmen.
Once I got to Ron's he had his latest acquisition laid out, Sails-of-glory, a Naploleonic Naval game inspired by Wings of War. Pure genius.

While the frigate draws the enemy fire, my ship swings across the enemy's bows, raking her once again. So far so good but alas we were playing the introductory game where there is no bonus for raking and the 5 chits I drew were underwhelming in effect while Ron pulled a tremendous load of 4 and 5 points hits for his 7 shots and my poor frigate rolled over and sank. I battled on for an hour and came within a chit of taking or sinking both his ships but again, in the end, I ran out of crew and had to strike.
Took me 3 or 4 turns, about 15 minutes, to get my sea legs but if you have even a slight sense of or any experience of sailing and any slight knowledge of naval warfare in the age of sail ( as in have read Hornblower or some of Obrien's novels etc let alone actual history) the game is dead easy to pick up and you are soon thinking seamanship and tactics not rules and mechanisms. We only played the simple, introductory game but I'd happily play that level again even though  I'm looking forward to trying some of the standard and advanced rules as well. Five very enjoyable hours,
A closer look at these little 1:1000 gems, straight out of the box. Alongside is the wind marker used to determine the attitude of tge dhip, running, reaching, beating ir taken aback, based on the particular model.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for reminding me of the joys of a wintertime tire change, Ross. ;-)

    Nice overview of Sails of Glory. Although at the asking prices, a temptation I can resist. Probably just as well, looking at those nice models, (unless the masts have to be removed to signify battle damage) wouldn't be able to restrain myself from painting the spars, adding rudimentary ratlines & rigging.....

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    1. I remember rigging armada ships in the 80's. It led to my first use of super glue. This one of things that I am happy to play with someone else's toys.

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  2. Those ships really are rather nice, aren't they?

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  3. I'm glad you came through the tire-changing ordeal OK. Locally a road-service guy was not so lucky: he tried removing the nuts on a Jaguar and it clawed him to death.

    Best if a bit weird Regards,

    Chris

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  4. I got in on the Kickstarter. We recently played it at our group and had a good time. We are planning on photocopying the ship mats and laminating them. That way we can use erasable markers instead of all the chits.

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    1. Good idea. I'll pass that on. Ron was thinking about copying them anyway so we could run bigger games.

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  5. Great looking ships, no doubt!

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  6. Goodness me - Sails of Glory! I have been wondering around slightly dazed since reading this post and seeing the pictures, trying to think about something besides little sailing ships. I have a terrible fear that i may be forced to study this further. Is the game as good as it looks? - I haven't heard of this one.

    Bravely done with the spare wheel, by the way (I refuse to write tire).

    Cheers - Tony

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    1. I've been corrupted, I started to type tyre but suddenly it looked odd.

      Hard to be definitive after 2 games but fast and simple and to me felt right. Not sure what the practical upper limit on ship models would be but my mind jumped to combined ops campaigns on the great lakes.

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  7. I have a nice review of the game by David Manley in the next upcoming winter spring issue of BattleFleet. The game has become quit popular and the miniatures look good. BTW Ross we hear your neck of the woods is up for a nasty storm this weekend! Looks like your going to be stuck inside for awhile ... Jeff

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    1. Winter in the maritimes. Last night's rain and wind has made room for tomorrow's snow. It all works out.

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  8. ".....as I crouched there muttering sweet nothings to reluctant nuts."

    Sorry for your misfortune Ross: but sheer poetry!

    Love the ships too

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  9. I have played a few games of this using the Advanced Rules + all the optional rules. The biggest games I have played with just 2 players were 6 ships a side. Very do-able once you know the rules. Great fun. Lots of problems vis a vis real naval warfare, so perhaps not for the real naval enthusiast. But a cracking game nonetheless.

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