EXCERPT 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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

There's a Storm Coming!

No, I mean a real winter storm, snow, freezing rain, rain. Could be nasty......good time for a game.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Glossy Shire Regiment

I stole enough time today to paint up some new Prince August castings from old moulds.

The Maritime Alliance training a new regiment or....
This is a mould I've had my eye on for 20 years but having discovered how diverse the Prince August Rosbach range is with regard to size and style, I have been reluctant to order  one until I at least saw some pictures. Its been in my shopping cart a dozen time but when the total was consulted, this was one of the moulds that kept being trimmed 'for now'. 
..perhaps the 28th charging at Quebec.
Well, at last I saw some pictures and here the lads are. As suspected, they are perfectly serviceable as late 1750's/early 1760's British infantry wearing their coats over the waist belt as seen in some prints. There is no cuff slash but the later style of small cuff with slash is easily painted on well enough for glossy toy soldier style.

Monday, January 14, 2019


4 days without anything wargaming-ish to report on?
Can't last!

Meanwhile here's a print off my wall for your viewing pleasure.
Montcalm & Languedoc Regiment.
And a song to go with it.
(A favourite of my for over 1/2 a century)

Or two, this one is a relatively recent discovery.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The story of the Battle Beneath the Tower has now been posted on the Gathering of Hosts blog.

This solo game which was set  in a fictional setting that originated in the 1970's, includes some of the first metal wargaming figures that I ever painted as well as vintage figures painted more recently such as the Garrison knights shown above.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Table is Set.

The Black Tower stands guard over the Pass.

A snowy/rainy Wednesday should provide time to play.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Friction vs Competence: A Case Study from Real Life

Over the weekend I've had the dubious pleasure of revisiting the old question of  friction vs  commander's competence including his planning and preparation and his reaction to events. There were no toy soldiers involved but the relevance stands.
If this post looks boring, please check out this rather fun little New Year's Eve game from 5 years a go.

To set the scene, we live in a rural area and are dependent on a shallow well pump for our primary source of water. This means we need 4 things to work:  water in the ground, electricity, a working pump and pipes that don't leak.

The ground water is largely beyond our control but we know that a dry summer can lead to a lower water table and so we conserve water and reduce and spread out our usage to reduce the drain on the well and store extra and collect rainwater so that even if the well goes dry for a short time, we are prepared to carry on.

The supply of electricity is also beyond control but even though outages are rare and usually a matter of a few hours at worst, we are always prepared to live up to a week or more without it.

The pump and plumbing however, are all up to us. I am not a DIY (do it yourself) sort of person because I enjoy it but partly because that's how I was raised and partly because we have chosen to put our efforts into living well with minimal expenditures.

OK so much for background, here is the event.

When the pump recently began cycling more often than it should it was a sign that there was a maintenance issue to be dealt with before it became a crisis. (apart from our own consumption  my wife requires water to run her dog grooming business). A week or so ago I ran through the process to recharge the water pressure tank but with little effect. This meant one of 2 things either I hadn't done a good job (with my level of DIY skills, still a not uncommon situation though less so as I gain experience) or the pressure tank seal had a small leak which would eventually lead to failure. Now if a failure were to occur it would normally occur at the most awkward time possible so I decided to have another go at a time when I knew we could be off line for a day or two in worst case but also thought through my options should it not work. 

Still with me?

Well, the 2nd attempt led to failure so onto the back up plan. We have a spare pump that was connected to an old rain cistern which is no longer in use. I shifted the plumbing connections over, cursing over the assortment of hose sizes and jury rigging, mostly inherited and the awkward, damp, dark space. Eventually I was done, flipped the power on, there was a bit of a snap, the breaker tripped and it was then that my mind drifted to activation rolls and cards.

At this point  friction, even though foreseen had succeeded in  delaying me but not stopping me. I had a cunning plan up my sleeve. I started to connect the good pump to the good pressure tank. At that point my propane torch suddenly stopped working. What?!  I got out my spare, it roared into life but I couldn't control the flame. Yikes!! What the hell, I went for a 3rd.....hmm thought I had another one here somewhere....
Restoring the water was going to have to wait until the next day and activation rolls/cards were really on my mind!

It was to late to go buy a replacement so we had to make due with our back up water supplies which are wisely my wife's area of control and thus ample.  The next day I popped out bought a new torch and a shut off valve to isolate the well the next time I wanted to work on the pump and in no time we were up and running.

So, was this a series of bad activation rolls or card draws  beyond the general's influence or was it a combination of poor combat rolls backed by a failure by the general to have done better planning and preparation?

Skirmish on the border
Thanks for hanging in. Next up, its time to get some littler bows and spears out and onto the table for a game. A game at least once in 3 years or out you go!! 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Trying things on for size.

Looks like Prince August is coming to Huzzah but he's bringing MacDuff with him instead of Lawford and Young.

The details don't matter but there may be limited cargo capacity on the troop transports, not to mention the battlefields and MacDuff can get by with fewer men.

Rosmark Carabiniers and Maritime Federation Gensdarme and Hussar.

Seemed like a good time to try out the new Cuirassiers and to finally paint up some of the Rosbach range Heavy Hussars.

And the Horror movie version.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Kicking the AGW Tires at Sittingbad

Since Sittingbad was still set up on my table, I decided to get the Prince August homecasts out for my now customary last game of the year, then decided to try out the draft of A Gentleman's War again.

The cavalry clash early on.
Initially I deployed 2x12 inf/6 cavalry or light infantry units for each Charge! regiment in the original. It didn't take long to realize that I had botched the unit translation  considering how the activation works. Not being shy about jumping horses in midstream (or about mixing metaphors), I changed that to 1x18 figure infantry or 9 cavalry or light infantry for each Charge! unit. That worked well.
The whole Rosmark army is now on table but the player controlling them has been too slow and cautious.
Yes OK that was me but it was a matter of honest poor decisions while I learned not only the rules but how to make the best use of them.)   
Once again the rules worked well but while each rule is simple, there are a lot of them and the various tables will need a few games to memorize for those like me who have gotten used to much simpler games. The card play puts an interesting twist on top of the game and there was a time I would hated it but I'm a little easier on such things these days and they can be quite fun.

The Hold cards are not quite the same when you know and control both hands but they are too useful to skip. I think some of my friends here might enjoy playing the card playing aspect of the rules.

Playing this game also reminded me that playing a non-gridded, card activation  game like MacDuff or AGW, solo, on a 4x6 table, means ALOT of circling the table to move units or retrieve tapes or rulers.

The supplies have been evacuated and the Maritime army is well on its way to safety.
What's next? We'll have to wait and see. Time is running short on selecting a game to run at Huzzah next May so picking one and preparing for it needs to be my main focus until its ready.