Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

Time is getting short and the days are busy with extra diversions (like the Porcupine high up in the old Willow in our dog yard, munching on new, crisp, green Spring Willow tips, as is his wont in Spring), but things are coming together. 

Much time was lost on the weekend when I saw the grid on the cloth I'll be using and I got nostalgic for the days when there was no fiddling with tapes required.... The first solo test was too quick, the next boring and so on. I was tempted to say screw it, rip the guys off their  bases and call MacDuff back into service until I remembered the near impossibility of setting up and playing to a conclusion a multi-player MacDuff scenario in 4 hours.  So, the fourth? fifth? abandoned playtest was reset and it all began again.

So I persevered and the current version, on grid, inspired by Morschauser's rules but based on Hearts of Tin (nee Morschuser Meets MacDuff). seems to be working. The aim is to have players making decisions, with nothing guaranteed but with player decisions usually outweighing die rolls  not so quick that its all over in an hour, not so slow that it's unlikely to reach a conclusion in the allotted time. 

Once I take myself hostage and staple gun to my head, force myself to sit down and finish the required book work for my wife's business, and then finally, file our taxes, (One more broken promise that THIS YEAR I would not leave it till the last minute...)   I'll have to do another test of the Frogs & Lobsters game, this time using these rules instead of MacDuff. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Playtests can be useful

 I had a chance to test my 1799 Syrian game today. 

Half way through the game.

By and large I was happy with most bits, but there were a couple of things that hadn't been thought out.  For example, each stand is supposed to be a unit but  4 stands will fit in one square and I hadn't decided on how that would work in practice, especially for melees.  So, I finally stopped the game, started considering the pros and cons to various solutions to the fuzzy bits, and some other things that didn't feel quite right. 

The play test will restart on Sunday. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Pour La Republique!

I was getting ready to play a solo test game of my enlarged 'Oasis' game when I realized that I hadn't painted up my French cavalry commander yet. 

Yes, I could have substituted a SYW officer for today but Huzzah! is coming fast and I had collected the bits I was planning to use (Zinnbrigade British Dragoons officer, Elastolin horse) so I stopped to complete the transformation. The face hadn't cast up very cleanly so I had to add a nose. A nose which I then squished while I was trying to do something else, then fixed, then squished again...... and then rubbed off bits of not yet dried paint....finally I had to put the figure down and go away and do something else. It was that sort of day, physical brain coasting while imagination tried to solve a dozen minor issues at once without regard to what the body was doing. 

Anyway, The 2nd nose was the best but...... and the painting is "a bit" sloppy, but he's a toy soldier not a display model and if I take off my reading glasses I can't really see his nose anymore anyway! In the lighting at the Con on a Saturday evening with a battle on the go, he'll do.  

Now the solo test game can go ahead tomorrow, (Saturday).

To be continued.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Dress Rehearsal

My scheduled Saturday night game at Huzzah was inspired by my first little spontaneous French vs Turks game last year. The Con is a couple of  weeks away and I hadn't got past the vague idea. I'd been too busy painting, and working on the other game and didn't have a large enough table for even a smaller version, nor did I have a firm idea of the larger scenario.

I certainly didn't expect myself falling back to my good old gridded battlefields and rules, but they are quick and easy and there is a narrow window to set up, play, and packup.

Got most of that sorted and my temporarily expanded table is very close to the playing surface on the day. (There'll be bare table room on either end, enough for QRS's, coffee cups, etc. )

A Syrian village, somewhere on the edge of the high ground, not too far from Acre which is under siege. 

I'm afraid I can't really show the whole table in case a future player is dropping by....... 

Hopefully politeness and the shinyness of the toy soldiers will deter onlookers and players from commenting on the presence of Heavy cavalry as well as Dragoons, and of the Hussars being from the wrong unit.

Should be able to have a solo playtest on Friday and then go from there.  

Monday, April 17, 2023

Showing Off

Last weekend I responded to a request to help man a booth at a hobby and craft display in Halifax. The lazy part of me thought "hour drive each way, out of touch with the current hobby, why would I?", the rest said sure, I can do my bit and come on Sunday.

So I put aside preparing tax submissions and preparations for Huzzah, put together a display with one of those slideshow digital picture thingies, a selection of books and rules over the last 1/2 century, a wide range of miniatures in scales from 15mm to 54mm and prepared a small simple game as a demo or "give it a go"sort of thing. 

Now, when I got there, Paul greeted me with the news that he had somehow not packed his "mat" for the demo game he was going to run and could he borrow mine. "No problem", until I opened my bin and......no tablecloth/battlemat. What!??  It had just been that kind of morning. But "Nil Desperandum" I rummaged around in my backhatch and found two cheap green cloth shopping bags. A few minutes with scissors and some masking tape followed by a ruler and felt pen and Voila! a gridded battlefield suitable for a small F&IW game using the Square Brigadier.

By the time the show closed up and I headed home, I'd chatted with various fellow wargamers of all sorts, with various interests as well as talking to various passers by who had never imagined such a hobby. By the end of the day my feet, legs and brain were tired but it had been a good day. 

Now,back to preparing for Huzzah!.......and getting around to that pesky tax return nonsense.......

Friday, April 14, 2023

A New Order

Considering the important role Turkey has played over the last few centuries, I was surprised how hard it was to get useful, detailed information on Turkish armies of the late 18thC, especially in English, and if you aren't interested in peacetime  Istanbul.

A detachment of the 2nd, overseas, regiment of the new army.

Nonetheless, I did what I could with the half dozen or so books and magazine articles on hand, as well as online sources, and imagined the rest like a movie director.

The other side.

These were  homecast from Prince August SYW Russian's in summer dress with Grenz caps, floppy hat bags and baggy pants from epoxy putty.

I'm just about ready for a solo test game.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Worth The Walk

To my pleasure, I found my camels stabled in our mailbox yesterday. 

Oddly enough, when I stopped to think about it, if I translate the walking distance  to our mailbox and back from metric to imperial............ 

I did walk a mile for my camel!

How about that?!

Friday, April 7, 2023

I'd Walk A Mile For A Camel

And these lads may have to if those Irregular camels don't get here by mid-May.

Dismounted camel corps, dismounted as an escort for the horse artillery.
The figures are slightly modified from Prince August's SYW Austrian Pandours with my own bicorne heads.

I've long had a 'thing' for camel corps. My 15mm Napoleon in Egypt force included a couple of packs but their timing was bad. I picked them up shortly before I got hooked on 40mm and they never got painted.

Initially I was planning to avoid any Egypt only French units, so no camel corps, but I've been thinking about that Turkish camel battery. I've never seen any pictures or description of it, just that unlikely drawing of a Persian one with a swivel popgun. Text sources lead me to believe that the Persian camel guns were probably like jingals, wall guns or similar, heavy muskets if you will. Looking at my Persian crew with a mule bourne mountain gun it struck me that their camel battery might have been the same but using camels instead of mules. That might explain how the French cavalry pursuit rode over them without a shot being fired. They may not have deployed yet. So I decided to go that route with the gun in action and kneeling camel in the rear, waiting for the order to pack up and go.

But.....this would leave me with a spare kneeling camel and a need for some infantry to support the French horse artillery......Ahha! 

Finally, a camel corps unit!

Ps apologies to those too young or sheltered to recognize the advertisement catch phrase.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023


Ok so that's the Royal Artillery's motto but it'll make sense.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and started working on a Republican horse artillery stand. Finding uniform info was harder than I expected and finding the right bits was initially harder. Early on the horse artillery seems to have worn a tight, long tailed, coat with various headgear from a crested helmet to hussar cap etc. The head was no problem but the body was and it looked like a lot of work ahead of me. 

I kept looking. Luckily, when I rechecked a famous painting of the Battle of the Pyramids, there they were, horse artillery in hussar style uniforms with a stovepipe shako. A short lived variant as far as I can see but it was just what I wanted and I could do easily. So original head of 1812 US infantry's stovepipe style shako and my universal gunners.

1798 French Horse Artillery.

If the gunners look familiar, it's because they're based on the same Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussian molds as I used for the Turkish artillery.

From 1918 to 1798

This lot aren't quite universal, but they'll be even closer when I get around to converting a Roman onager crew for my Prince Valiant games.