Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Getting There

Things are starting to come together and a new set of fast play rules are being born. (Just what the world didn't really need.)

The Federals advance

More to follow!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Hold Until Relieved

 Scenario inspired by various historical events and several of CS Grant's scenarios.

The opposing armies are advancing by several roads with cavalry scouting ahead to find out what the enemy is doing and whether or not there are some good defence positions which could block the enemy and provide several ways to get around their flank if they show up. 

The Rebs have found such a spot but the Yankees weren't long behind. The thunder of the guns going into action urges nearby reinforcements to step out.


Opening shots.

The Rebs start with a cavalry brigade on the central hill supported by a brigade of infantry. The rest of Kinch's division is moving up at the double to reinforce them. The Yankee scouts had spotted the Reb position and reported back. After a look at the map, orders were issued.  The Federal cavalry have deployed to keep an eye on the Rebs and the veteran 1st Infantry Brigade is already marching on. 

There's a gonna be a fight but there's only 15 turns till dark! No time to lose.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

While We're Waiting....

 Actually, I planned to start the game later today or tomorrow morning but these days....

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of reviewing past games and thinking.  When circumstances changed and I had to cancel my appearance at Huzzah in Maine, (the first time in 40 yrs of running games at conventions that I cancelled.), I realized that with my 70th birthday looming in 2025, I should really be focusing on enjoying my hobby for its sake. If I find that I can make it to at least 1 convention next year, I am already in a position where I could whip up a couple of decent convention multi-player games in a few hours. In the meantime, I should just get on with amusing/enjoying myself as my primary goal, and design my games for my preferences and what I have, not for their suitability as either multi-player convention games or as short "one hour-ish" solo games. 

2022 Battle of Daniels' Crossing 
(A tribute to a fallen comrade.)

The last time my ACW figures were out, I'd been trying once again to change to Brigade units. The games did go quicker but they lacked ...flavour? narrative? something anyway. So I went through..."a bunch" ... of the nearly 200 ACW posts on my blog. I noted that by 2009, I had already starting to build 1/72nd ACW 'regiments'  to replace my 15mm Fire and Fury brigades. in the 90's, a group of us had used F&F to play Grant scenarios. It finally occurred to me that we just played with minimal worries  about what our "units" theoretically represented. When in 2005, I got back to my existing handful of 20mm plastics which had been painted as 12 or 16 figure "regiments" in the 1980's, I just picked up where I'd left off. Eventually, I increased them all to generic 18 figure units, maybe because they looked good, maybe to be closer to Featherstone's 20 man regiments, Charge!'s 19 figure "companies" or my own 20 figure 40mm battalions. Who knows why now?

A shot from a game...ummh... earlier in this blog.
I forgot to note the post date and "ain't goin' back search'n".)

Anyway, my conclusion today is that while I like the apparent simplicity of brigades as units, I want the flexiblity of medium sized 2 rank "units" with enough figures to look like "something", even when playing a "small action" with a few battalions while having a small enough foot print to allow me to deploy a score or more of these units on each side which will "feel", to my imagination, like a "Battle", even if the games requires 4 or more hours to finish. 

Even more, important, I like that some of my "regiments" have earned names and histories.

A 2017 game with longtime friends. 

So, Sunday's game will be back to 3 stand regiments, grouped into Brigades with 3-5 regiments + a brigadier, and no grid!  Division and Army (or Corps) commanders as called for.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Carry On!

 At a time like this, there's nothing like carrying on like usual. 
My ACW armies have not been out in some 18 months, the only active collection that hasn't been. Its time to fix that.

To be continued....

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The saddest thing to be...

" Old Admirals who feel the wind, and never put to sea." - Al Stewart, Old Admirals.

"Now just like you I've sailed my dreams like ships across the sea
And some of them they've come on rocks, and some faced mutiny"

Well, no easy away to put this, due to various things I won't bother with, for the first time in the 40 odd years that I have been running games at conventions, I have had to cancel my trip to Huzzah in Maine,  and thus cancel the 3 Prince Valiant games I was scheduled to run. 

I apologise to those who had already signed up or who were contemplating doing so. Maybe they will appear next year but that's only a vague possibility at this point.

So a change to something else I think. Not sure what but requests will be considered.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Annnnnnnnd We'rrrrrre Back

Note to self, make another attempt to do my wife's business's books monthly!

So, now it's back to preparing for Prince Valiant's trip south, across the border to Huzzah!.

Cheap Viking castings transforming themselves into Picts. I think they may need a hand.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

We Pause This Blog For

 Tax Time!  (Oh joy)

One last photo from the first playtest. Lessons have been learned and progress made. Now it's time to figure out what we owe Caesar before we return to more important matters.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Minnow Deploys Her Cavalry


To be continued.....

Monday, April 8, 2024


I'm a big believer in play testing scenarios that I'm going to run at a "Con". Having a group of friends to play test is ideal but even a solo game can expose issues and omissions that hadn't occurred to me or which had occurred and then were forgotten or dismissed. 

On the weekend I started playing my first scenario only to realise that I had arranged things in a way that gave players too few decisions to make, too few options to choose from, and too little room to manoeuvre and that meant that the game was liable to be fairly boring as well as over in about 1/3 of the time available. So I rethought, rearranged, etc., and came up with a better approach....so far.


The game will resume tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Almost There....

 The table is set, the rules are scribbled, now in the morning, comes the first test.


Watch for your friendly neighbourhood minstrel...... 

........or this blog!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Climbing Out Of A Rut

I've got sufficient troops, based, painted etc to have a test game BUT, I was still stuck on the rules,game mechanics, etc. units on a grid, units off a grid, neither of these had the right feel. They might work for historical armies in a pitched battle, but this game is supposed to have the feel of an illustrated heroic story of skirmishes and assaults etc,  in the Saturday paper or in a movie.  

Artist's (sic) impression of the Saxon assault.

Keeping that in mind I turned the job over to the back of my brain to work on while I just got on with converting figures. Today, I got a mental memorandum suggesting I drop the idea of "units" and just move individual figures and resolve melees considering whatever figures are in a square as a temporary unit.

I've just about got the even quicker one page rules ready for a Sunday test game.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Beware of Ambushes of the Mind!

Things were starting to firm up, scenario, rules, figure requirements, etc., etc., then, I came to the ground cloth.  I double checked the table size I'd be using and realised that the only base cloth I had that would fit, was the old, now gridded, cloth that I have often used at Huzzah since 2009 and many times at home. 

That wasn't a problem in itself BUT, once laid out, I couldn't help myself. I started thinking about how easy a grid is to use, no fuss about having enough rulers and tapes and fiddling about, "Is it in?" etc,etc. My existing units actually fit the grid nicely, but I'd have to diddle with the rules, and..........well, by the end of the week I had a simple gridded game put together, followed shortly by the realization that it was particularly bland, unHollywood-ish, and not at all like what I had wanted. 

Luckily, the grid is faint enough that I often use the cloth but ignoring the grid. Conversions, painting and so on, have resumed, the rules have been made less convoluted and the scenario shortened since once I allow for set up, rules explanations, and cleanup at the end, I've learned to shoot for a game that can be finished to a clear resolution in 3 hours or a bit more, rather than having to stop the game and make a judgement call on who was the winner. 

We have work to do!

Now I can get back to converting, painting, touching up, shading, basing, etc. etc the 2nd hand and never painted kits, and so on. Then, I'll be ready for the first solo run of the first scenario.