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.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's making that dust cloud?

I'm in the middle of a week and a bit of standing double duty watches while my wife is off to a dog show. Makes it hard to find time for hobby stuff, especially with my room overrun by non hobby flotsom from some minor renos that we re-started as spring approached. However, there comes a time when a junkie needs his fix and its been over a week since I slipped away for an afternoon of wearing and tacking across Ron's table, forcing his 2 ships to strike while he sank 2 of my 3. 

Fleeing civilians herald the approach of enemy forces. The carts are  a minor modifications of one of those plastic wagons from a Dollar Store cowboy set. I cut it in half, filled in the missing wall/seat, replaced 2 large wheels with PA home cast cannon wheels and added shafts for a single draft animal, a toy oxen for one, a Zinnbrigade draft horse for the other.
This would of course have been an ideal time to clear the wagons and figures from my downstairs painting desk and set up some portable games but my mind had been on trying a bigger game on my newly gridded table upstairs.
Sir! The enemy is upon us!

I have been trying to plan for my "battle" games to be fought using my 1/72 ACW armies but I can't seem to shake the vision of them being fought with 40mm glossy toy soldiers. Maybe not a Gettysburg or Waterloo But at least a Lundy's Lane. The question is, will the grid make this possible or will I have to find a way to stage a bigger table from time to time rather than saving that for a once a year mega game?

For the 1880's breechloading rifle period I fielded 4 man "company" units assumed to fight extended. For the 1812 and 1837 smoothbore period, the one this game is set in, I intend to field close order battalions as units but it'll take more than 4 figures to convince me. 

On their native bases I can fit 12 Scruby figures in a 2 deep line into one of the squares but on washers I can only squeeze 8 which I don't think is enough. The exact number doesn't matter ruleswise, only visually, but it would be convenient to not need rosters or a good memory. On the other hand once I get over 100 figures I'll want either multi figure stands or magnetized movement trays for all. 

An overview of the table. Big windows at the end of the table don't really help with lighting for pictures especially in the afternoon but having one end up against a wall does make for more walking room.

I haven't worked out all the details yet, I'll probably work those out tomorrow and retire upstairs for a couple of gaming sessions during Monday's Nor'Easter snow storm. However I have a battlefield and a General Idea.

The Red Queen's and Blue Republic's troops have been facing each other across what is known in Faraway as Treacle Creek for a few days. Blue has blocked the bridge known in Oberhilse as Molasses Crossing and both sides have dug field works behind every ford, daring the other side to attack. At last General Turner, under pressure from the Queen to attack,  had resolved on a night march to an unguarded crossing and a dawn flank attack.

We pick up the game as the Red army encounters Blue's flank guard. 


  1. What size is the newly-gridded upstairs table? I suspect I probably ought to be able to work it out but it's easier just to ask :-) Treacle Creek looks very promising and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

    When you describe planning to use the 1/72s but wanting to use the 40s, that sounds like a familiar dichotomy to me, happens quite a lot. So it makes me wonder whether if, when I plan, I fail to give sufficient weight or credit to my own personal preferences and in fact may usually be trying to suppress them in pursuit of some ostensibly rational goal, but they pop back up in the end.

    1. The table is roughly 4x5 with 4" squares marked out. I say roughly because I had cunningly cut the table top to fit a grid of 9cm squares then discovered that a few units hung over the edge slightly. The result is a grid of 12 x 16 squares. With an extra row of 1/2 squares on one edge, for now. I'm not 100% sure yet if I need the grid or if unit bases would have a similar effect but it seems to help make the table "feel" bigger and less like a diorama.

      The 1/72 vs 40mm thing is a real dilemma for me. The main reason for the Airfix guys is nostalgia, I had them as well as 54's by the time I was 8 or so and it was airfix that I turned to when I started war gaming. However, to justify 2 collections I figure they should each have a different purpose. It seemed logical to think 1/72 big game, 20ush man units, dioramic look vs 40mm individual toy soldiers. However as much as I like the idea of the latter I keep coming back to the same sort of game for both. Hopeless/helpless!

      So this is a sort of faceoff, I have an idea to fight the game twice, once in each scale.

  2. Great looking table, as usual, and fantastic civilians, love them!

    1. Thanks, most of the civilians are sash and saber, straight out of the bag.

  3. I like the civilian convoy! It has the right sort of 'look' about it.

    I am looking forward to reading your battle report as it has all the makings of being a classic tabletop encounter.

    All the best,


    1. I hope so Bob. I was tempted to try some flat trees but I don't have enough and they aren't painted.

  4. 1/72 or 40mm?

    20mm + 40mm = 60mm /2 = 30mm

    Obviously you should be gaming in 30mm. Time to start over.

    Probably best you not mention it to the wife. If she catches on and asks "I thought you played in 40mm?" Just sigh and say, "You never listen to what's important to me."

    1. Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind but in practice they are little different from the 40s. Pity, as my wife's too busy dog showing and breeding to notice what scales of toy soldiers I collect.

  5. The wagon to carts conversions look great! Happy gaming!