Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Planning the 2012 Winter Campaign

Relax, not really campaign, or at least there might be a campaign but probably not but it is my expectation that I will have more hobby time over the winter, in particular, more painting time and maybe some longer, more elaborate solo games. If not, a big shake up of some sort is called for.

Even with increased time, I won't have time to indulge in everything, hence the need to figure out what outside commitments I have, what needs to be done to meet them and what else I want to do. I also have some "issues" around present circumstances vs past visions that I haven't completely wrapped my head around but need to as these affect things like how many collections I think I can handle at once and still enjoy them and how I feel about working on yet more figures that will rarely if ever hit the table, or alternately, dropping some secondary projects down into very small game levels.
Portable Russian Civil Wargame from March of 2011

There have been times in the past when  the only valid "small game" I could envisage me doing was a small man-to-man skirmish, something I didn't actually do but could envisage. I've flip flopped on this and can now see a matched set of DBA or Portable Wargame  armies as a perfectly valid option for secondary collections. A way to "scratch itches" and indulge my wandering interests without investing a lot of time, money and shelf space. Something like that, might hit the table once  a decade and still justify its existence.

The main thing I want to accomplish is to take one or 2 of my collections and bring them to a "Sufficient" status. Not finished, I'm not aiming to close anything off from future additions or even to complete all the planned units for any of the campaigns. However, due, in some cases to inability to decide what a certain campaign should look and feel like, and in others to me waiting on myself to learn how to use the spin caster to produce the required figures (rather than finishing with conversions, faulty drop cast molds  or purchases then spinning my originals),  I have too many collections that cannot take the field  for a game without incomplete units, borrowed troops and improvised scenery. That needs to change or I need to play with the finished ones, (if there are any left) or to down size requirements. There may be a drop in variety while this happens but don't count on it.

I have banished  ancients to my other blog, but can't ignore them during this process as I intend to devote a fair amount of time to them this winter. In part because I know what needs to be done and have hopes of games and all of the figures or molds that I need to reach a stage of Sufficient. So here, the goal is 2 opposing 300 pt Impetus armies, all based and with enough suitable terrain to play a game. Most of the figures are painted so its largely about reorg, rebase and touch up.

Planning is afoot to meet Rob Dean at Huzzah in Portland Maine in May and co-host a 16thC Rough Wooing game. I'd like to add a few more archers and cavalry and there are a few troops to be migrated from thin cardboard to Coalition Standard masonite bases but if push comes to shove, I could pack up tomorrow and go as is. The real need is to put a push on to agree on a game and register it and to agree on some proposed rule changes. As part of this process, we hope to stage a Skype game if we can arrange a day. This is the 3rd year I have hoped to make this new convention and have had outside things intervene so hopefully this year it will all  come together.

A Rough Wooing Game from last New Year's

On a related note, 2 years ago I was registered to run an Aroostock War alternate history game at the 1st Huzzah. Many of the troops are ready while those still needed are planned anyway so I would like to finally do this. I never got beyond a rough idea for scenario though and it really calls for a lot of scenery that just isn't ready, especially not travelling a 1,000 km to a convention ready. So it needs a decision soon and lots of upfront work soon if I am going to go for it. The alternative is to play it safe and put it off till next year.

I quite enjoyed the 1/72nd ACW games last fall and Santa was nice enough to drop off some Italeri and Imex reinforcements. this also needs scenery but I expect that I'll bring both armies up to a first level of Sufficient this year if not this winter. If I'm not too busy with the Aroostock thing, fences and entrenchments will also appear.

Actually scenery is becoming a critical issue for all my collections,  I had hoped to get it down to 2 sets of scenery with variations but I think i am now looking at at least 4 set ups, sighhhh. more on that later in a separate post.

Then there is the WWI bug. The 40mm one is in direct resource conflict  with the Aroostock/1840's toy soldier campaigns while the 1/72nd RCW/WWI  one is rubbing up against the ACW campaign. I think this is the big decision that i need to make this week. The RCW project is Sufficent for a Portable Wargame and can be left there though some trenches would be nice, a few hour's work. For the 40's, I am going to have to choose one for this winter: bring 1838 up to Sufficient or drop it this year and build 1914 from nothing.

The 1840's from a game this fall, unfinished scenery, wagons and variously based and organized troops with stand ins and missing flags. Time to Polish? or time to Put Away?  (for now)  

A new collection, sample 1914 figures from a few weeks ago. Will they be "Home by Next Christmas?" or just a passing fancy?.


  1. Best of luck with your endeavours Ross whatever they may be - also my offer regarding the ACW still stands.

  2. Ross,

    I would suggest ACW over RCW in that there will be lots of "ACW 150th Anniversaries" coming up . . . and likely to be a lot of interest in refights.

    Other than that, I know that you prefer "larger figures" so I'd suggest that you see what excites you in your 40mm and 54mm collections and go from there.

    -- Jeff

  3. I'm not convinced by 1914 as a 40mm project, seems more suited to 1/72 scale, but that's just reflecting my own taste for colourful uniforms and probably a selfish wish to see more of the 1838 stuff, which I particularly enjoy.

    Sufficiency is a very useful concept but I guess a lot depends on how far away one is. If it's just a case of some tweaking and basing, then yes why not finish the job. On the other hand, if a project is 50% complete but faltering, is there a risk one might find oneself forcing it half-heartedly and a fresh start might be better?

    Food for thought and a thanks for a thought-provoking post to start the new year. Best of luck with the planning.

  4. Is it possible that a few rule tweaks could bring the Sufficient target down a little. eg we are currently using 12 man units for Blackpowder although the intention is to move to 24 man evenutally. Not such spectacle but we get to play with the toys.

  5. Conrad, OK, Jan 2nd and already I'm embarrassed. ACW eh? Umh, was that in an email or a comment? (blushing furiously while shuffling papers and trying to look busy while surreptitiously doing searches. )


  6. Jeff, you're right there should be lots of inspiration for ACW over the next few years.

  7. Steve, I'm not sure about the colour thing either, If the early 20thC is pursued, it wouldn't surprise me to see it expand a bit to the very edge of khaki with troops in full dress taking the field. I think its the whole Little Wars thing.

    The whole "sufficiency" thing needs more thought. The 1st step is figuring out what the actual needs for sufficiency are. I may need to go back to picking 1 scenario, picking the rules and org and focusing on that till its done.

    More on this this week. There are red coats maneuvering on a corner of my table as I write.

  8. Prince Lupus, that is indeed one of the options.

    At one point my goal was to have all 'projects' using a similar organization but I am increasingly looking at secondary ones having smaller units.

  9. I would gladly participate with you in planning some 200th anniversary Winter Campaigning ...

    I have loads of ideas and thoughts for putting parts of Bruce Quarrie's "Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature" into action.

    With specific attention to be paid to the Campaigns of 1812 ... in Russia and/or Spain.

  10. Ross,

    In case you don't know, Murdock (author of last comment here) was the player to my left (opposite your friend) when you played at my house . . . and his first love is Napoleonics (which for some reason just leave me cold and uninterested).

    -- Jeff