Thursday, September 3, 2015

Revisiting Gaines Mill

As a way to rekindle my drive for this project, I laid out the terrain and units, using my Russians as proxies for the Confederates. The thing looks good. Cannot wait to get back to collecting and painting armies.

The filed laid out, seen from the Union lines

The units that come as reinforcements (by mistake I put one Union division in that comes are reinforcements)

A view along the green hell that is Boatswain's Swmap

The Union lines seen from Longstreet's division. The difficulties the terrain would give to an attacker seem evident.

The Union line with the the Divisions of AP and DH Hill coming towards them.

A wall of flesh and steel.

Looking from the bottom of the swamp towards Morrell's entrenched division.

From Morell's division to across the swamp.


Another view of the board with the initial forces deployed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

BBB Modular Terrain

The biggest challenge with playing BBB is the terrain, which can be demanding. I have been grappling with how to create a modular terrain system that would permit me to run most of the actions of the game, without needing to create unique tables for each battlefield.

The most challenging element is elevation. Chris Pringle uses up to three elevation levels and most of the scenarios see anything from 20-90% of the table covered in hills, ridges etc.

Now Chris has some suggestions on how to tackle hills and you can read them at his blog, here.

My own method is based on roughly rectangular pieces of cardboard cut to different sizes and glued with green, brown, and deep brown paper. The goal is to have a inventory of pieces that can be used to build different battlefields. They do not look nice, but they are cheap to make. Also you can easily make them look nicer by gluing sand, foilage etc on them (this will happen little by little). For steep slopes I think I will use the tactic I use for rifle pits and entrenchments and create little sticks with rocks etc, which can denote a steep slope.

I still need tons of green (lvl 1), brown (lvl 2) and dark brown (lvl 3) peices, but here they are used to represent Solferino and Beaugency.



Again, no work of art, but its a start. Foilage, steep hill indicators and sand will make them look cooler.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dr. Leadhead's plans for 2015/2026

Conquer the world

No, wait that is the wrong reality.

Get published.

No, wait that is a given standard operating procedure in this career.

Well, now that we have the insanity out of the way, wargaming-wise the 2015-2016 academic year is going to be lean. 1) I really do need to get published, which means I have to ramp up manuscript production 2) I recently moved and need to buy house stuff as well as renew my wardrobe. 3) Thanks to the politics of certain parties the Turkish Lira is in a very bad position vs the dollar/euro/pound. Which means that a) My student loans from Uncle Sam bit quite hard this year b) Getting stuff from out of Turkey (And for historical minis you have no choice), is going to be expensive.

Never fear though! We did not let a sprained leg stop our Prospectus defense! We shall not let miserly economics stop our wargaming addi...hobby.

First of all the paintbrushes are always working finishing minor projects of opportunity from last year. My newest addition are three bases of 10mm Pendraken Union Cavalry, that has been painted as green clad cavalry that will see double use in 19th century battles as Russian Dragoons/ Greek Cavalry for the 1868-1908 period. I now have enough Russian cavalry for all published BBB scenarios on the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, and enough Greek cavalry for all the scenarios for 1897.



I have also decided this will be the year of terrain. I am working on 

a) a modular system that will permit me to do an adequate job at representing the various Altar of Freedom and Bloody Big Battles scenarios (obviously it would work for Black Powder and any other small scale games). Pics will have to wait pay-check and some work.

b) I did start working on various fortifications for the above games. I am loosely using the techniques 
detailed at the Altar of Freedom page. Because of that it takes me more time to get the result I want compared to them. But still not that much more time.  I have started with Rifle Pits (about 15 of them), and will built entrenchments, and then fortifications.

Here are some pictures of my rifle pits with 10mm Pendraken Union infantry and artillery manning them.




The work in progress


I am also building towns and villages for BBB. Nothing fancy, and all at the 3mm scale (I prefer the savings and I play grant tactical anyway). This does mean either building more Altar of Freedom paper terrain houses (a very very frustrating process) or buying 3mm or 2mm models. We will see. I have enough buildings and bases for about 7 towns or 8 villages.


What about big projects? Well as I said no money so no funny so I am keeping myself to two and only two big projects.

A) Finish my Altar of Freedom Battle of Gaines Mill. I am almost done with the Union, needing to just add command elements to 6 brigade stands. Then I have to do the confederates. A major decision is whether I go for 4 figures pet base, like the Union or 3 figures per base. I have 18 figures of confederate infantry left over from making one of the Union brigade bases.I would need 25 brigade bases for the Confederates. The way I make them (3x20mm squares per base) I would need

i) If I go 3 figures per base, 225-215 figures or roughly 7-8 Pendraken bags

ii) If I go 4 figures per base 300-290 figures or roughly 10 Pendraken bags

The difference in money is not huge, but at 1 Lira to 3 Pounds it can ramp up if added to all the other costs in life. And from what I understand Rebel brigades were bigger than Union ones, so I cannot justify the difference in miniatures due to history. Well decisions, decisions as they say.

B) Prepare to host the BBB Domokos scenario in Greece this summer, if possible at Domokos itself. This requires a portable gaming area which I have done. I would prefer to had this printed on cloth (at the last MPSA I saw people that did that with their posters and it looked soooo coool), but in the end I hand-painted the map on hard paper. I used crayons and the differences in colors at some point are due to me not being careful, and having to change crayon boxes midway in the work. Still it is done, and it is portable. I still need to figure out how to portray the woods of the scenario map in a portable way. Probalby will use clumbs of foilage. 


Miniatures wise I need to armies, the Ottomans and the Greeks. In both cases I will use 3 minis per base, as this is he era of open order tactics.

For the ottomans I would need 44 bases of infantry, 2 bases of cavalry, and 4 of artillery.

In total  132 infantry miniatures, 4 cavalry miniatures, and 4 guns. This army will also be used for 1877. Roughly 4-5 Pendarken bags, 1 calvary bag, and 2 artillery bags. Probably a good start would be the 1877 Ottoman Army pack.

For the Greeks I would need 26 infantry bases, 2 evones bases and 4 artillery bases. I have the 2 cavalry bases. For the infantry I think I will use War of the Pacific Infatry in Kepi and Jacket mixed with Danes for 1864 in greatcoat, as the greeks seem to wear those two items in battle.  The main issue are the Evzones as nobody is producing 10mm Evzones. I am trying to get Pendraken to do it, but it will take time.

Figure wise I would need 78 infantry figures, 6 evzones, and 4 guns. Roughly 3 Pendraken bags, and 2 artillery bags. I may try to get this a custom pack, maybe trying to convert zouaves to get evzones.

As a project this is not too expensive or time consuming, and I think my next purchase is going to be the greeks. And that is it. There are some projects of opportunity going on, but for major projects, just these two.


Monday, August 24, 2015

BBB:Battle of Inkerman 1854

On Sunday I introduced Mehmet to Bloody Big Battles. We played the Inkerman scenario. I played the Russians and he the Anglo-French. My 1877 Russians proxied for the Russians, and his 1815 British for the Anglo-French.


This was not my best showing as a host as I was tired, and in the midst of working on a modular terrain system for BBB. We did have fun, but I was not able to win Mehmet over to BBB from Black Powder. There were elements of the rules he loved but the terrain requirements did daunt him. My hope is that my modular system will take care of that. He will play again, but if I or Onur host the game. That is fine. I do feel if the terrain was a bit better and me a bit less tired that maybe I could had won him over.

Scenario wise we forgot the fog rule for the first 4 turns so that might had an impact on the final result of a Russian defeat. The defense was king and I think I lost 4-units for only two anglo-french losses. The game mostly saw me trying to attack along the Dock and Careenage Ravines with Soimonov and Paulov. I eschewed much action with Gorchakov in the south. My goals were the Gordon, Home Ridge, and Lancaster  Redoubts. I took the Home Ridge one for one turn but was ejected, ending the game in defeat. I cannot say I enjoy scenarios where the armies have a variety of weapons, as it required frequent checking of ranges etc. The british in fortifications were very hard to eject frequently getting 2 right column shifts when shooting, and 1 left column shift when shot at. Still not a bad scenario and would try it again.



Historical Map
BBB Scenario map




My attempt to represent it, looking from South towards north. 

Initial deployments.


Early attempt at the Gordon Battery, beaten back


The battle develops.


Gorchackov makes his play against the French, and fails. Action on the south grounds to a halt


Russian columns attacking the Gordon, Lancaster and Home Ridge positions.


A view of the action from the West looking towards east. British and French units move to support the defense. 


The southern front, safe.

Panaroma of the battle


Concentrated Russian assault at Home Ridge


Lancaster Battery


Gordon Battery


The situation about Turn 5 


Beaten back at Home Ridge


Beaten back at Lancaster


The Chaussers de Afrique shine destroying two spent Russian regiments in front of Home Ridge with a charge. They pay the price though when artillery is brought up to shoot them.

Massing for another charge


The Russian mass for one last, ultimate effort.

Once more into the fray at Home Ridge

And Gordon

And Lancaster

All three beat back and end of the game sees the Anglo-French Victorious. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Athens Summer 2015 Gaming

Phew! I had these pictures uploaded for a long time, but no explanatory text. I was in Greece between July and August for vacations (the first summer vacations in 3 years). Staying for a rather long period, me and my old friends, organized in the e-group To Ksylo tis Arkoudas (the beating by a bear, a greek word signifying a situation were a lot of beatings occur) were able to play a lot of board and miniature games. So the pics are from those. It was good times and I got a chance to put some models and rules on the table that had not seen the light of day in a long time. Games played were

SAGA: 5 games, with three friends hooked. I can know say there is a SAGA scene in Athens. We used both historical 28mm miniatures, but also our Warhammer armies and it worked fine. I of course did not win even one game :p

Wizard Battle at Skullfyrze Mountain. Lost

Kiss me Hardy: 2 games, lost both.

Big Battle DBA: 1 game, won

Warhammer: 1 game, lost

Twilight Struggle: 3 games, won 1

X-COM the Boardgame

Warhammer 40k: 1 game, lost

Maria: 1 game, won



The basement set up. Precarious but it will do.


Saga: Orcs and Goblins with Vikings vs. Dwarves with Anglo-Saxons Battle for the Ford (I was Dwarves-Anglo Saxons)











Wizard Battle at Skullfyrze Mountain




Kiss me Hardy: Action of 13th January 1797 (French vs. UK, I was UK and lost)






Big Battle DBA! Romans+Nikiforean Byzantines + Bedouin Dyansties vs. Celtiberians+Welsh+Feudal British (I commanded the first grouping and won after a tight battle)


















Warhammer! Dwarves with some human allies vs. Orcs and Goblins ( I commanded the Dwarves and lost).

Early set-up



Final Setup









Epic clash between dwarf warlord and troll!


Orcs take the tower



Another Kiss me Hardy game: This time the England Expects scenario (6 French SOL vs. 4 UK ones). I was the UK and bad wind led to my total defeat.










More SAGA!



Twilight Struggle


More SAGA!



X-COM


8 point SAGA game: Anglo-Saxons and Jomvikings vs. Anglo-Saxons (Orcs and Goblins), Sacred Ground Scenario. I commanded the Orcs and Goblins and lost.








Yet more Saga! Dwarves vs. Moria Goblins





Warhammer 40k: 4 Player battle. I played my space marines, an army I have not gamed with in 7 years. The otehr armies wer Chaos, Tyranids and Necrons











All in all a good summer bash for our little group. Now for next year, when I will definitely run Domokos with BBB. Thanks to this almost all my miniature collection got at least 1 game in.