Monday, May 31, 2021

From the Archives: The 1st Edition of the Noodle

 Almost done with fiddling about with a couple more display samples from some old moulds so I can get back to gaming, but not quite done. This November will see the 10th anniversary of the First Edition of the Newport Noodle but why wait?

Besides...a few recent games mixed with some looking waaay back, has got me rethinking some of my ideas about the best way to tackle using some of my older figures in the occasional small, quick game while keeping overall numbers down.  So, without further ado, here is a copy of the first battle report based on a game, to be published in the Newport News. I enjoyed writing it so much and it was received all enough that I'm still periodically writing them when an appropriate game seems to call for it.  

From 1 November 2011:


NOV 1st, 1841


Reports have been received of an unprovoked attack yesterday on Her Majesty's troops in the Origawn Territory. It seems that while on a tour of FTC trading posts, Lord Walts received a terse note declaring that the Faraway troops that accompanied him would not be allowed to proceed. Disdaining to reply let alone turn back, the column proceeded. Our correspondent on the Frontier has posted this report:  

It was about 10 in the morning when our column, under the immediate command of Colonel Stoneforte, Brevet Brigadier,  entered N'haro Pass. Bearing the previous night's warning in mind, the experienced Frontier Fighters of the FTC DG's Bodyguard led the way,  scanning every rock and hollow where a Bushwhacker might lurk. As we approached the narrowest point of the pass, the signal was given to halt and scouts were sent forward towards several large clumps of lichen adorning a ledge which overlooks the road. The crack of rifles and several puffs of smoke was the response. Our way was to be challenged!

Like a well oiled machine, the Bodyguards fell back as the Wye Fusiliers, the famed Green Tigers, rushed forward and deployed, their new colours flying proudly. In no time at all the ruffians had been driven back and the column proceeded past the sad site of the bodies of 4 young soldiers, lying by the side of the road. 
 The Wye Fusiliers drive the ambushers from Lichen Point while the Voyagers scout up towards a patch of trees, exposing several dummy cards.

As we pushed forward through the pass, the Belmont Fusiliers or Buffs, doubling forward to shield the coach and wagon, I heard some of the experienced officers mutter about the risk about getting so tightly bunched should there be more Oberhilsers in the vicinity. I know there was some muttering about the clubs about the army's most junior Brigade commander being given such an important task but he is a man cast in the same mold as General Turner (literally- ed) and "fortes fortuna adiuuat". 

The crowded pass.

For a while, it seemed that this dozen or so scruffy frontiersmen (actually it was probably only 10, ed) were all that we faced. The bridge over the South Sloy River could be seen ahead and the road to Roslin and safety beckoned. Suddenly from a ridge ahead, more shots rang out and the grey clad forms of Volunteer rifles could be seen. The Bodyguard had been taking a terrible toll from sniping and that was no ground for a cavalry charge so they dismounted and forming a skirmish line, returned fire.

More foes appear!

With Corporal Blogger and his fellow Horse Guard riding ahead and a column of the Buffs pushing forward on our right, we felt no threat but the carriage ground to a halt while the situation was sorted. Suddenly the road ahead filled with troops,the pale blue of Oberhilse regulars and the wild troopers of the infamous Frontier Horse.

 The trap is well sprung!

It was a bad time for us to lose the initiative! Before they could react, the skirmish line of the Body Guards was ridden down. The Horse Guards who had posted themselves as a reserve, found themselves too close to the action and were forced to draw swords and spur forwards, being caught up in the precipitate retreat of the FTC troopers. With their blood up, the enemy troopers spurred forward in pursuit, scattering the Buffs before they could deploy from their march column and surrounding the Director General's coach.

The Frontier Horse seize the carriage containing the Director General, his wife and Duke Peter. 

font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 15.456px;" />All was chaos but Colonel Stoneforte rose to the occasion! Quickly rallying the Buffs, he seized the initiative and led them forward in a wild charge before the Frontier Horse could drive away their prize. True to his last breath, Corporal Blogger spurred forward to join them and rescue those whose safety had been placed in his care. At the same time, Stoneforte ordered the Green Tigers to drive off the enemy skirmishers who were creeping close on the flank. With a brave huzzah the red coated troops stormed forward.

 Colonel Stoneforte rallies the Buffs and gives the order to Charge! 

Alas, fortune does not always favour the bold. Corporal Blogger cut down one of the enemy with a masterful stroke of his broadsword but a rifle bullet threw him from the saddle. The Buffs, their ranks ragged, tangled with the horsemen about the carriage but honours and casualties were even. The melee hung in the balance. Then , as Colonel raised himself in the stirrups, urging his men on, another rifle shot rang out. These Frontier Horsemen are crack shots, born in the saddle and raised as hunters. The Colonel was flung backwards off his horse and the Buffs, gathering him up fell back in dismay. On the hill slopes beyond them the Tigers struggled across the broken ground as the enemy rifles cracked, time and again. Finally as the Buffs behind them gave way, it became too much and they turned and fled pell mell down the hill again.

Too little, too late.

Anxious to prove themselves the Black Horse pressed forward from the rear, but this was no parade ground. The wagon, which had been saved by the charge of the Buffs, still blocked the pass so the big black horses were urged up over the ragged ridge. By the time they had reformed on the flat, the carriage and the enemy horsemen were gone. In their place stood a  resolute square of blue clad infantry while the rifle fire from the hill swept the road. For a moment it looked like the horsemen would throw themselves onto the square but they were the bulwark behind which the army must rally and there was still the vital paychest and records to protect.

Lord Walts confronts his captor, Brigadier Zinn.

The mood around the campfires that night was bleak indeed, the groans of the wounded and maimed mixed with the laments of the men for their failure in the face of the enemy. There was the usual post battle chatter about how the Buffs should have advanced in an attack column, how the carriages ought to have been held back till the way was secured and how we needed more Riflemen on the frontier as musket armed line infantry are no match for riflemen in rough ground. I even heard arguments that the day was really a draw because the Oberhilsers didn't get their hands on Ol' Betsy the steam tractor nor on the gold, but in truth we were bound for Roslin and none of us made it, least of it the Lady and Lords that we had been charged to protect..

The gloom was only slightly lightened when a messenger appeared out of the darkness. Colonel Stoneforte, his wounds bandaged, called the men around and announced that word was received that the Director and Duke Peter were safe and sound and were the guests of the Oberhilse commander for tonight but would rejoin us in the morning.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

A Quick Look Back

My first 54mm wargame collection was for the War of 1812, my second started as  1st Afghan War, but due to the difficulty of finding affordable 54mm Afghans in the mid 90's, drifted off into my first venture into "Imagi-Nations" set in the 1850's/60's on a large island with Zulu-like natives and colonies of British and Arab/Turkish types. The figures are a mix of  various homecast figures, mostly converted, inc Dutkin's Arabs and Sepoys, Castings Highlanders,  Mtd Guards officer and Zouaves,  PA Mamlukes and various  plastic figures, and some 90's Britain's. Buildings are foamcore inspired by The MajorGeneral's old website.Here's some of them in action on a small make shift table after I lost my wargames room for a few years.

Note the fellows in green, a mix of Britain's Napier's Rifles and Lil Army sepoys.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
(Homecast from Castings moulds. )

Napier's again, seeing off some Albanian mercenaries

A shot of my old games room, probably in '99 or 2000.

Meanwhile, back on the painting desk, an Englishman and a Scottish Highlander are nearly dressed for Tel el Kebir.

Friday, May 28, 2021

And here is our Hero.

It was a rash thing to do, casting a figure that doesn't fit into any of my current collections and visions of rebuilding armies for the NorthWest Frontier or Egypt momentarily danced in my head this afternoon. 

Homecast Lil Army 54mm Sepoy from a Lil Army mould, available now from the Dunken Company which is where I got my first moulds from back in '98.

Luckily,  the thought of the time and energy required and the lack of anywhere to store them, let alone display them, not to mention all of the unfinished collections I a want to work on, soon quelled that idea. I  should be able to find room to display a few single figures or vignettes though, just for the heck of it.

Thursday, May 27, 2021


Its been a few decades since I cast one of these fellows but the mould was patient and still works. 

Having had a couple of New York's Lil Army moulds sent over to me from Ireland some time ago, I thought it would be proper to at least do one of each so I also dug my old sepoy mould out to make three and fired up the ol' melting pot..

 There's a bit more work to do on the other two (especially after I broke the Highlander's bayonet off when moving from desk to table to take his picture - oops) but they won't be too far behind. 

Seeing the Lil Army exagerated head and detail again, I don't they'll look right to me in a traditional glossy toy soldier finish so I think I'll go the gently shaded route with these three figures like I did back when. I like to think it helps disguise the mutant look of the big heads.

Monday, May 24, 2021

All Things Must End

Well, another Huzzah convention has come and gone and while it was a virtual one which didn't require travel, I'm as tired and happy as I usually am after three weeks of intense planning, preparation,  playing, shopping and socializing  and driving a 2,000 km round trip! Of course during the last three weeks,  I designed and solo tested a scenario, hosted 4 remote wargames, and played in one, all without slacking on spring yardwork! Not too bad for an old guy.

Now on to the last game: Frogs and Lobsters:

Here's a few mid game screen captures from two different players each a few thousand kilometres away, one in New Jersey, the other in Alberta followed by an overview photo that I took here in Nova Scotia after the game was over.

Early in the game, the right hand Republican column pushes ahead.

A broader view mid game, the Yellow Hussars were repulsed by the small convoy guard but the Black Hussars have just seized it. The Royal Navy landing party didn't do quite so well this game.  

Royalist Riflemen launched a counter attack before the Hussars could reform and against the odds took back the convoy. The armies were now engaged across the whole table.

Lastly, an overview of the end of the game here in Nova Scotia: 

My thanks to the organizers for organizing this virtual con and getting me off my lazy butt, and to all of the players who played in my games included the vital learning games as well as the actual convention ones. There is now talk of more remote games amongst our informal wargaming group here but once I get some updated gear and learn some alternate platforms like Discord,  I will probably post periodic calls for volunteers for some international remote games.  

Time for a change of subject now. I think a bit of painting is in order before I play another game.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Virtual Huzzah: Two Down, One to Go

 So far I have been enjoying my virtual convention.

Friday Night I was a player not a GM and as a wild Balkan warrior chief of low degree, came " this"  close to over running an Austrian convoy after which our Lord and Commander was about to over run the Austrian fort when a deluge of shells from a gunboat, a battery and the fort's artillery blew the attackers to smithereens. At least they died gallantly. It was an enjoyable game with good company. The game was played with computerized rules that Arofan, our GM, had programmed.  I kinda missed the feel of rolling  dice but the system worked well and the game was both interesting and fun.

Picture courtesy of Arofan who hosted the game. 

Today I ran the first of my scenarios. Unfortunately one of the players did not respond to any of the emails and didn't join the call, I'm not sure if the contact information was wrong or if something came up. However, there were still three players to carry on. I didn't think to take any screen shots in the midst of the action, but did take a few quick snaps before  resetting the table. For the first time, the attacking French took both crossing points and won the game. 

Luckily, if any one would like to read a good report of my 4 player practice game, they can pop over to the Palouse Wargaming Journal and read a good illustrated battle report of the first virtual, train-the GM, game. (click to see)

Sample screenshot from the Palouse Wargaming Journal blog.

One game to go but already plans are being laid for more virtual games.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

From The Archives: 10 years ago this week

Tis the season to stack new firewood, did and plant the veggie patch and so on, not to mention that my table is all set and waiting patiently for the  weekend. So here's my run through of a famous Featherstone scenario that I played 10 years ago under the title of The Battle of Plattsburg 1843 (click):

The Action 10 years ago. Click here to read the battle report.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

As Ready As I'll Ever Be

On Saturday night just past, four brave and patient volunteers played another multiplayer Skype test game. It was a very enjoyable evening with different  tech issues, some more virtual moderating lessons learned, and a successful game to boot. 

The view from Maryland at the point where the site owner made an impromptu tour of the battlefield.
 (Another issue for the planning committee.)
40mm figures on a 4'x5' tabletop.

The biggest issue at this point, one which I doubt I will be able to resolve, is that Skype seems to disable the zoom on my cell phone video camera which means I have to physically move the  tripod to get a wide or close up view with subsequent visual distortion and off table shots while while changing focus as well as time lost. Not game stopping  but disappointing and annoying. Still have a few days to work on it.

There are still 3 spots open for the Saturday game: Hold the Line virtual Huzzah: Affair of Outposts 

and 2 spots on Sunday: Hold the Line virtual Huzzah: Frogs and Lobsters

Well that's enough on this topic until the games are played. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Recruiting Sergeant Has Been Busy

To my surprise, this morning turned into a decent day with few obligations  so I got a chance to tidy a space in the unheated wood/storage/workshop shed and fire up my smelter for the first time this year.  

Now, I don't really NEED another red coated infantry unit right now but......a second emigre unit or some marines would be better for the Frogs and Lobsters scenario than the Hessians I used in the test game. They would also be better for any future West Indies games while still being good for Flanders.  

I was planning  to do the Loyal Emigrant regiment in bicornes and long tails as my next allied unit but I'm starting to  lean towards another unit in coatees and round hats which would fit into all of the potential theatres. I've also been thinking about doing a unit of  marines. Now in 1795, the Marine's (not yet Royal)  official uniform was long tails and bicornes but there is some reason to suspect that a more practical unit of coatee and round hat, like worn in the West Indies and by some emigre and volunteer units, might have been worn on board  ship before it was authorized when they became the Royal Marines. Since I'm leaning towards some West Indies games and some raids down the road, it seems to sort of make sense, so I cast enough bits for either.....or both.

If I do the round hats now, the bicornes and tails guys could eventual be painted as a British unit for Flanders or as another unit of Republicans.

Monday, May 10, 2021

From the archives: The computer remembers better than I do.

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to look back and see how many remote games I've blogged and when and what the first one was: Remote Wooing: Jan 2012 (click to read)

The view on Rob's end.

The answer was: a) that the count of posts tagged "remote games" is not an accurate count of games since some games had more than 1 post and I know that at least a couple were either not blogged or not tagged.  To my mild embarrassment, I had forgotten that the first 1/2 dozen or so were using Skype so my claims of not having used it since before video conferencing was "a thing" were..ummh mistaken!  All but two of the remote games were done with 1 computer on each side but some had 2-4 players in total. 

A picture taken from here for that first remote game blog post.

I have a feeling that the number of remote games I play will be increasing over the next year now that the technology has improved and continues to do so. Remote may not be as good as face to face, but it beats no game or play-by-email hands down. Its also an excellent way to test run a convention game when the co-hosts live 2,000 km apart!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Trying It On

Hurrah for the denizens of the blogosphere. Thanks to four brave volunteers I have now experienced a 4 player + moderator, 3 time zone, coast to coast, miniature wargame and not only learned a few things but enjoyed it.

The view from the other side, pulled back to show the whole table.
(Screenshots courtesy of Murdock: see

We used Skype for this game and as the listings on the virtual Huzzah registration site lists Skype as the medium and 2 people have already signed up,  I am going to stick with it until then. A quick chat with Rob over Discord seemed to have better video so that will be something to investigate later.

Zoomed in a little closer, a little later in the game. 

There were a few technical glitches and a learning curve on my end as well as one brain failure on my part which ended the game abruptly when my phone/camera ran out of juice because I had forgotten to plug it in as planned. But we still managed a 3 hour, 4 player game which felt a lot like a normal convention game apart from the occasional request to zoom in or out or pan across to a different part of the table .

And even closer as the game entered its final phase.

Quite apart from the remote aspects, due to other demands on my time, I had only managed to design the scenario earlier that afternoon and finish a solo play test an hour before the live version and was starting to feel.....fatigued and a bit brain dead by the last hour but I've gotten used to that over the last few years. Resting up before the next game is now on the toodoo list. The scenario seemed to work well though with multiple possible approaches to the tactical problems and each of the games coming to a conclusion at the last moment. I think I should, perhaps, write up a generic version to make available here.

Well, one week to the next test game. I don't want to mess with the table so it'll be a week for some painting I think.

Speaking of next week, there is still one slot open for the Saturday game if some brave soul wants to volunteer. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Scenario Two Develops and I Try a Video Clip

 Today I started working on the design of the second scenario.

Part way through, my new tripod arrived! So I decided that a quick test of tripod and fairly new phone was required.

No, don't worry, I'm not planning to quit my dayjob. 

Now to play test the scenario and schedule the two GM training games.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

When in need, Improvise!

I'm fairly confident that most of my motley little horde of Pirates and 1837 Upper Canadian Rebels DON'T look very much like French Revolution Chouan rebels from Brittany but they are angry civilians with pikes, muskets and cold steel so they'll do for now. 

All conversions of my original sculpts except for the loading guy who is based on a Zinnbrigade casting.

So far so good. Now I have to finish designing this brand new scenario.........

Monday, May 3, 2021

Next Hurdle Passed

The first game has now been planned and solo play tested.  

I had a few worrisome minutes trying to figure out how the game would work with 1/2 the number of units per side that I would usually plan for a convention but then I remembered that it will also be played on a table half the size of the planned in person gametable and with fewer players in a remote setting.

A snapshot of a moment in time, midgame. I'm afraid the rest are "Classified".

The rules are now available here: with MacDuff To the Frontier 2021.(link)

Now there is the second scenario to plan and test before I schedule the live test games. Hopefully I'll also have time to paint two dozen figures so I can replace some SYW stand ins.


One more request: I've been advised that Discord would be a better platform the Skype for this situation and hope to get a chance to see for myself but if anyone out there wants to share their experience with either or both apps please either leave a comment or email me at