Saturday, December 30, 2023

Rude Awakening

The Adventures of Prince Micheal: Episode 26: 

Following their guide who moved quickly but as quietly as a shadow through the woods, Micheal and his companions did their best to keep up. The sun was sinking when they caught the sound of drums and wild chanting and cries. At last they reached a clearing........ 

Micheal ordered his men to ready their weapons, but to hang back and not strike a blow. Quietly they watch their guide walk forward to join her people. The dancers at once moved towards the newcomers with screeching cries and threatening gestures, but their guide cried out and spoke to their leader who in turn called to his warriors and gestured to them to stand back while he listened to the woman's tale. 

Finally he laid down his weapons and advanced, holding up his hand. Micheal laid down his weapons and stepped forward to meet him. With no words in common, the conversation was carried out by gestures but it was soon clear that they were about to move to attack these evil intruders who were camped nearby, and that  the white men were welcome to join with them. After a hasty meal, and a rest for the foreigners, the alliance of Britons, Saxon and Mq'ma warriors moved out in silence.

After a two hour march, the scouts reported that the enemy was gathered around a large fire, preparing their meal, and had had a few sentinels, but had none at all now. With a few gestures, the two parties agreed on a plan. The local warriors surrounded the enemy camp while the foreigners in their shiny coats hid until the signal was given and were then to charge into the middle of the enemy, kill their leaders and rescue the Lady Alison who was present, dressed only in a simple native dress.

Micheal and Alfred crouched just within the forest edge and waited. Suddenly a shower of arrows flew from the forest followed by a screeching horde of nearly naked warriors. Michael gave the word and Saxon and Briton, weighed down by armour and shields, broke cover and rushed at the enemy leaders. A long and bloody fight ensued. The evil Wizard and two burly guards seized their captive and drove her back towards the fire while fending off the rescuers.

The fighting was fierce and prolonged with heavy losses on both sides but eventually numbers began to tell and the raiders circle steadily shrank. Alfred approached the wizard and with one swipe of his blade, separated his head from his body. 

Micheal pulled his sword back to finish off the Brigand chieftain then suddenly froze, his vision blurred, his mind swirled and a sound like a laughing man filled his ears. Slowly he focused and realized that he was lying down, soaking wet and surrounded by laughing comrades! 

Had all those months been just a dream?

"Good morning sleepy head" said Sir Gawain with a chuckle "I don't know what strange dreams you had but you have spent half the night thrashing about, calling out, and generally disturbing our sleep, so I had the lads return the favour! 

But, its time we were a horse and on our way, or we'll be late for the New Year's Eve feast! So hurry up or you'll get another bucketful!

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

We Now Return You To.....

 The Adventures of Prince Michael

In moments, the crew was armed and ready as the ship rode the waves in toward the beach. Soon arrows were flying back and forth.

The fight did not last long. Soon the enemy broke and ran into the trees, presumably to carry a warning to their chieftain. Well, their trail looked easy enough to follow.  After a quick conference, a boat guard was detailed  with orders to find sweet water, fill the ship's barrels and to hunt for meat and smoke for the return journey, or for the coming winter! 

The rescue party started to prepare to follow the enemy into the woods when a young, dark skinned woman approached cautiously. She had been spotted by the fire as the ship had run in and obviously she was neither British nor some sort of beast-man, had been a captive herself, and was grateful for her rescue. They had no words in common but by drawing pictures in the dirt and using gestures, while repeating "Awli-son", they soon understood that she had met the Princess Alison and knew which direction she had been taken. Armed with the news that the Princess had survived the voyage, and with a guide, the rescue party could make better time than anticipated, and with more hope of success rather than mere vengence.

There was no time to lose. The rescue party, cleaned the blood off their weapons, and prepared to follow their guide.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Yuletide 2023

I wish a joyful day to all my readers and your families and friends!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

There They Are!

After a long and difficult passage, the pursuers have sighted land, an endless land full of trees and rocks and rivers, but little else it seemed, until the lookout shouted: "I see Smoke rising beyond the next headland!"  Down came the sail and out went the oars. Eagerly, those on deck scanned the coast as they rounded the cape and entered the small bay. GOT THEM!    

"Rach gu sgiobalta!"

Only a boat guard, and now the enemy will be alerted, but at least there will be a trail to follow.

To be continued....

Thursday, December 14, 2023


Months had passed since the Sorceress had ambushed Prince Michael (see If you go down to the woods) without any sign of her or her strange minions, and slowly it faded to a bad dream. 

As Christmas drew near, Princess Alison, with her maid and a small escort, rode out to take the air. All was well, until......

None but the horses returned to tell the tale.

"The Saxons have broken the truce! To arms men! We march to rescue our women folk and revenge our dead!" But halfway to the Saxon camp, they met an armed mob marching towards them with angry cries.

However, before blood was spilt, the Green Lady appeared out of nowhere and stood between the two angry mobs.

"STOP! .......You have been deceived by the Purple Witch!"
"It is she and her foul creatures who have done this evil deed and she has taken them aboard a ship and sailed to the West, to where, even I do not know. If you wish to rescue your  loved ones and redeem your honour, make common cause, launch a ship, and go West!"
"It may be a long quest but it will be an heroic one, worthy of the bards songs. are you heroes who will swear oaths to each other to follow this quest to its end? or merely squabbling boys, afraid to take on a hero's duties?"

And so the warriors swore to undertake the quest. Swiftly a ship was made ready and a crew of bold British and Saxon warriors sworn to the cause. 

And so it was that these heroes sailed into the setting sun,
ready to face whatever adventures should await them.

To be continued
(It'll take these lads a while to cross the Atlantic but they should get there by the end of the year.......)

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Clear The Pass

After the defeat at St. Croix, Brigadier Cameron was assigned the task of clearing the road between the British camp and the Minas Basin where the Royal Navy was at anchor near Grand-Pré. He was given a detachment of Rangers, a battalion of the 60th Foot, a 4 pounder and three battalions of Provincials under a Colonial officer, Colonel Turner. 

Near noon, scouts reported spotting the enemy barring the road ahead where it passes through a narrow gap in a ridge stretching across the road. 

While the battalions began to cross the ford and deploy, Gen. Cameron studied the enemy position and pondered his options. He would need to open the road and demolish the barricade if wagons were going to get through, but he thought he might be able to pin the defenders while storming the ridge on the enemy's right flank.

"Forward men! We must clear the way!"

The French fire was heavier and more accurate than anticipated so General Turner was ordered to bring up the rest of the New Englanders to replace the 60th and to take the left hand ridge and flank the defenders of the redoubt.

The point blank fire was deadly to both sides but the Massachusetts were beginning to waver and Gen. Cameron felt obliged to join them and urge them on. 

Forward men! The French are wavering!
(They were one or two hits from breaking.)

Alas for General Cameron, just when the French militia were starting to waver, the New Yorkers began to waver. Cameron pushed his way to the front urging these farmers and merchants on. It seemed to be working until one of the milice saw the mounted officer in scarlet, towering over the crowd of brown coats, and fired carefully. As he started to reel in the saddle, his soldiers steadied him,  grabbed the reins and led him to the rear, accompanied by what was left of the battalion. 

It had been a fierce and bloody fight for both sides but there was nothing for Major Turner to do but order his battalion and the rangers to fallback in good order to the far side of the river and start getting the force, now under his temporary command, into order and send a messenger to report the situation to headquarters. 

NOTES: The miniatures are 40mm, mostly homecast from Prince August molds, some of them, especially the Canadian militia, being converted to suit their role. (and yes, Gorham's Rangers are currently dressed for the 1840's but that will eventually be fixed.)

The scenario was "designed" to suit the forces, the result of the last battle, what might follow in the campaign, and the actual terrain that such a column would have had to pass  through. (Not that either this or the preceding scenario were precisely accurate for the actual local places that inspired them.

The rules are a new, short (currently one side of a page), set of rules which I intend to use for 'horse&musket' games in a North American type setting, though  they could be used in any setting with the addition of troops and situations that I don't currently plan on using, I need to make them clearer (even for myself for future reference) and add a few things that might be used in another scenario (like destroying a bridge, digging entrenchments, storming walls, making amphibious landings etc, etc), but this weekend, I'll post the proofread version of them as they are.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Fighting Intensifies

 The rules have been stripped down and revised, and stripped down and revised......

Battle is well and truly joined.  I'm afraid the unsupported attack by the 60th Foot did not go as well as hoped.

but I'm liking this one side of a page, quick play, version. If all goes well, the game will be finished ere the sun goes down on Sunday.

Friday, December 8, 2023


 Looks pretty simple, even simpler if the gunners can haul the gun out of the narrow ford....

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Enemy in Sight!


"Forward men! We must clear the road to reach the sea!"

Comrades, we have marched from Montreal to Acadie, now is our moment. If we can hold these damned Englishmen until the King's soldiers arrive, this campaign will be over!

Note: Historically, Captain de Ramezay, a Canadian officer of the regular colonial troops (Compagnies Franches de la Marine) in New France, led an expedition of soldiers, militia and First Nations warriors to Acadia to rendezvous with Rochefoucauld. I've just made up a subordinate for my games, named lieutenant de St. Lambert after my old home town across the river from Montreal. 

To be continued......

Monday, December 4, 2023

Meet Me At The Pass

While the previous battle was being fought, Capt. St. Lambert with a small force of Compagnies franches, Milice and allies from New France landed at Grand Pres. When word arrived of the repulse of the English, Capt. St. Lambert marched to cut off the British line of retreat towards Fort Anne.

The newcomers.

The Vanguard of the retreating army.

To be continued....

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Back To Base Lads

When I bought my first Prince August moulds, in the 1990's, it was to bring a regiment to play in the Hartford Area Weekly Kriegspiel's (H.A.W.Ks) club's multiplayer Charge! games at H.M.G.S. conventions. To fit in, I mounted each figure on a 1" wide metal washer. Since then, as the armies grew and I started experimenting at home and at conventions with different rules and levels of game, my poor armies went through a variety of basing ideas from single figures, to fixed stands with markers, to magnetised bases and so on.  

Well, life goes on and making a 3,200 km round trip drive is less attractive now than it was 20-25 years ago. This year, I donated a large contingent of my "Rosmark" troops to the H.A.W.K's to do their bit in club and convention games, and kept the units that would be useful in my planned not-quite-historical Acadian and Quebec campaigns.

My process: The single figures were mounted on steel washers using ordinary White (aka Carpenter's) glue and an hour of standing in water up to their shoes, makes it easy to pop them off. Being thrifty by upbringing as well as necessity after my choice of very early retirement, I cut my own bases from scraps, mostly from the boxes of Clementines etc.. Once the glue is dry, I flock with sawdust I've saved when doing repairs or projects and finally paint to match my table as well as I can.   

I confess that it hadn't taken long pushing scores and at times, hundreds, of individual figures to become a bit tiresome and, over the years, I have experimented with various alternate solutions from magnetic multi-figure stands and steel washers as bases on the figures, to a mix of multifigure and single figures and so on. Well, these days, the less fiddling with individual soldiers, the better, and since this is a solo project, open to a club or convention game now and then, all my armies, except Prince Valiant and friends, are going back on multi-figure stands.

Since I want to do both battles and large skirmishers, and want to play a game of toy soldiers, not conduct an accurate recreation, I have opted for an Old School approach where a Battalion of 300-500 men in a battle will be represented by 3 stands or "companies" of around 6 figures on a base.  In small actions or certain scenarios, an individual stand might be used to represent a detachment of 100 or so men or even less, depending on the situation, but with no change is ground scale, ranges etc.. Remember, its a game of toy soldiers. 

For my own convenience, the same rules will be used for my 1840's games at the other end of the smoothbore musket era but with different hats.

More to follow.   

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Meanwhile on the Eastern Front

Yesterday I made the long trip. (OK,OK, it's only 45 min on a good day, not as far as I used to commute to work but I don't often go so far from home these days.) to visit old long time friend Les for a game of Command Decision, Test of Battle. 12mm Eastern Front. (See Advancing on a Broad Front blog) First CD game in.....decades?  Anyway, we were starting to get the hang of the rules again when it was time to go home, so no decision made except that it was a very enjoyable afternoon.  

Opening Battle of Acadian campaign

Monday, November 20, 2023

Battle of Saint Croix: 1746

Popular history has little time for what is known in the US as King George's War, or the contemporary Duc d'Anville's unfortunate 1746 expedition to reclaim Acadia for King Louis. However, for someone who grew up on the banks of the St. Lawrence and now lives in what was Acadia, and has a friend who worked hard and finally bought back his Acadian ancestor's farm, some 250 years after their expulsion, that expedition seems like a good inspiration for a Not-Quite-Historical narrative-campaign. (i.e. a series of games linked by a narrative.) 

That campaign begins here.


As General St. Lambert crossed the Petite Riviere, he could see clearly the approaching column of redcoats with General Ross at their head. The French advance guard had done well to be first to cross over and occupy the little village on the far side of the bridge and be in position to cut the road to the next bridge. All he had to do now was to hold his ground. 

The British force seemed to be a bit hesitant if not confused in the face of the constant trickle of casualties from the Mi'kmaq and Acadian skirmishers and the approach of French reinforcements.

Once the British managed to deploy, the affair no longer looked one sided. Their attack seemed to be aimed evenly across the whole line (or not aimed at all according to some of his subordinates), so St.Lambert decided to put his faith in La Reine to hold the bridge and sent his last reserve to cross the ford and cut the road to the east.

When the Massachusetts regiment joined the battle line, the fighting raged from end to end. A company of La Reine was forced to take over the defence of the Inn and soon their 3 companies were the only defenders of the town against 8 British companies including Grenadiers and Rangers. 

At last, the Rangers managed to push the last Frenchmen from the Inn but it was too late. Moments later the Grenadiers and 26th broke after heavy casualties, followed shortly by the Massachusetts regiment. General Ross had no option but to order a retreat.  

Note: The armies were recruited from Prince August moulds with the exception of a few Irregular figures amongst the French skirmishers.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Now The Hurley Burley's Done

 I need to write a blog post but its late so here's a quick preview:

Coming soon.......

Saturday, November 18, 2023

That last game reminds me of.... incident (fictional) in Nova Scotia/Acadie back in 1746....  

The French rush to deny the bridge and ford to the British invaders.

OK,  an incident which didn't exactly happen in real life, but which will allow me to play the same scenario using a different style of rules (a descendant of my old Hearts of Tin rules).

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Battle of Tea Room Junction (The 3rd Origawn War begins.)

Now that hostilities had resumed, General Ross received orders to secure a crossing over the Little Border River where it empties into Big Blue Lake, and deny the same to the enemy. Scouts had confirmed that Faraway had not yet posted any guard detachments at the bridge by the Tea Room Inn so he wasted no time. The order went out for his troops to form up at dawn and march over the frontier.  

As the column approached the bridge, a cloud of dust on the far side indicated that General Turner had not been as lax as he had hoped. There was going to be a battle! 

(Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

The armies deploy.

Led by the ol' "Up & at'em", (aka Brigadier Wavey), the Rifles, Wentworth Volunteers and Jane's Greys crossed the bridge and secured the little village, while the Red Dragoons splashed across the shallow river, drew sabres and charged their counterparts. Across the battlefield, the Queen's artillery opened a heavy, if inaccurate fire, while he redcoats deployed in echelon of battalions and advanced to prevent the enemy from seizing the fords farther upstream which would give them a way to outflank General Turner's force.

Brigadier St. John rushes his brigade to cross the ford and drive the enemy riflemen from the hamlet.

The Red Dragoons have driven off their counterparts but the fighting has taken a heavy toll and they are within musket range of the enemy infantry. The day is soon over them as well but they have also delayed the redcoat infantry, with St. John's brigade is at the ford and with luck, will seize the hamlet before the redcoats get there.

All afternoon the fighting raged at close quarters with neither side willing to give way to the old enemy.

But men can only take so much and as the sun sank, the shattered Oberhilse battalions had had enough and fell back while they could still defend their side of the river. The weary Queen's troops let them go and began to look to the many wounded.
After all, the war had just begun.

The figures are (smallish by today's standards) 40mm, some Historifig/Scruby backed by mostly converted Zinnbrigade home cast figures, with a score or so of my own sculpts.

Next post will go behind the scenes and hopefully talk about the (wait for it....) new, new rules and what's ahead.)

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Finnigan Begin Again

Quite apart from non-wargaming duties and distractions over this last week, I ran into some issues with using the grid. After banging my head against that wall for long enough, I started to do a rethink.

It took a while to figure out what the 'inner me' actually wanted and then to put together something 'completely different'.  Four turns in, it feels aggravatingly promising. I'll explain that after the game which should be finished Sunday morning.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

While We Are Waiting For Me

Its just been one of those weeks. If all goes well, I'll finally get to finish the interrupted game tomorrow (Friday).

In the meantime, here's one from the archives:

In 2012, (or 1837, depending on whose calandar you are using) the Blue River Rebellion was in full swing. (Please note that the reports are shown last post first, first post last. They may make more sense if you scroll down to the last post and read the posts in chronological order.)

The rebel assault on Brooklyn.

Hmm, seems things were a bit more Old School in those days.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

This Is More Like It!.

At last! 

Another game is afoot (or 'a table to be more precise). 

The Queen's troops rush to meet yet another incursion.

Coming soon to a blog near you!

Monday, October 30, 2023

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

When I started getting into shiny, old school 40mm figures, I was thinking about various historical, mid 19thC, campaigns, British wars in India, the various rebellions in Canada and the US Mexican War and the Oregon Crisis over the west coast border between Britain and the US. In my eagerness to do them all at once, in no time I had parts of all of these ready to go, BUT none ready. Well, the toy soldier approach was starting to appeal to me and so I made up a fictional setting and bent the narrative to justify finding ways to find a place for all. 

Faraway's Belmont Fusiliers, and the Young Buffs have been ordered to trade their old Havelock's for ordinary Pork Pie forage caps.
These OS 40mm figures are from Historifigs War of 1812 range. They are listed as Americans since that's what the Scruby catalogue said, but are actually wearing British uniforms with the Waterloo shako. The Havelocks and Porkpie Forage cap are epoxy putty over a trimmed down shako. 

The idea worked once I adapted my brain to the setting and I still think its a useful approach but since I'm trying to reduce the size of my combined collection and to focus on a smaller number of settings so I can go a bit deeper, I decided to rethink some parts of the plan. The result is that the "Colonial" theatre is now the unique setting for the early 20thC while the  mid 19thC will be constrained to the Oberhilse and Faraway wars. A few units will need a bit of tweaking, but nothing serious.

A shot from my 2009 playing of 'Forlorn Hope' from Asquith & Grant's Scenarios For All Ages
See my 'Playing The Redbook' blog series

Slowly, the plan is forming!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Mom! He's at it again!

"At what?"

"Oh! Rebasing! What a mess!"

I'm not sure if its something cosmic or just the looming shadow of the end of my 7th decade and the signs that my body and mind are starting to slow down,  but over the last month or so, I've been reconsidering my hobby plans and aims and what will someone have to handle  if  when the inevitable happens. Over the last 15 years, I've re-homed several thousand mini's in 6 scales but since I haven't stopped adding, there's still a few thousand painted and unpainted miniatures for someone to dispose of some day. 

But that's a longer term issue, in the short term, I've revised my plans with an eye to reducing the number of my active collections again so that I concentrate on pinning down my rules and running some mini-campaigns of one sort or another. 

The new regulation.

More on my revised plans later, for now, I'll finish rebasing enough units to get a game on the table midweek.