Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Minuteman Miniatures Arrive!

Last night a box arrived at my door: a small box with big contents.  My vanity miniatures from Minuteman Miniatures are here!

28mm Mounted French Colonel, Viking, Roman, WWII American; 18mm Mounted French Colonel
I will probably try a few different painting techniques on the faces to see which provides the better likeness, but I am impressed with how much these figures really do look like me.  I can always use these sculpts to fantasize about how I would look without my "gamer's physique!"

Trimming the Scaffolding

The scaffolding certainly kept the figures intact during shipment.  It is a pain to cut away, but with some sprue cutters and a little patience, I was able to clean up these 18mm figures without breaking anything.  I remember that Mike and GP were wary about printing figures so small, but I am happy to report that these are robust enough for gaming!

"Ney, why don't you head for the rear and calm down. I'll take things from here."
As you can see, the 18mm figures match AB just about perfectly.  I will soon take command of some French troops!

I'll have these painted up fairly soon.  I know I do not usually post about UN painted figures, but I am super excited about these!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Giant Commission -- I See Dead People

Here are 20 casualty markers for Glenn's Anglo-Allied army.  There are 12 infantry and eight cavalry casualty bases.

Now I just have nine mounted French commanders to paint, and the giant commission will be done!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Giant Commission -- Artillery Casualties Finished

Well, those turned out pretty well!

The infantry and cavalry casualties are coming right up.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Chaeronea, 338 BC

While in Chicago, I got a chance to see how "To the Strongest" played.  I liked the system well enough that I picked up a mat with 4" squares from Cigar Box Battles.  Today I set up my Greek and Macedonian armies and took the rules for a spin!

Annie helped me set up

Annie surveys Philip's foot companions

The battlefield

I was impressed with how unobtrusive the squares really are.  My terrain fit the squares perfectly!  I am growing to like squares and hexes more and more.  The game just seems to move along more quickly when I don't have to worry about degrees of turn and fractions of inches of movement.

The armies close
"To the Strongest" uses playing cards to handle everything.  Movement is variable. You can keep moving your units until someone fails an activation!  It adds some nice randomness to the game.

The companion cavalry recoils

Units that have taken a hit have half their stands stepped back. Another hit and the unit lifts!  Combat is decisive and bloody.  The companion cavalry lasted only three turns before they fled the field.

Philip hold the Athenians

The Greek left disintigrates

Situation at game's end

The game was a nail biter.  Both units had lost 10 points and had a break point of 11.  The next to lose a unit would lose the game.  Thessalian cavalry rode down a Theban hoplite unit, which ended the game.

I am sure I did many things wrong on my first run through the rules, but I was able to finish the game without any real trouble.  It was nice to get my 15mm ancients on the table for the first time.  A couple more run throughs, and I will be ready to host a real game!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Giant Commission -- Artillery Casualties

I am on my last batch of painting for this commission!  I will provide 32 casualty bases and one French army command base, and then it is over.

Nobody really makes suitable artillery casualties, so I broke out my modeling tools and created some.  The French guns come from a pack of Old Glory Napoleonic cossack artillery.  The British guns are Old Glory ACW.

French Artillery Casualties

British Artillery Casualties

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Little Wars 2018

I have spent almost three years painting Glenn Drover's Napoleonics collection, and I hope the figures provide a good spectacle.  Of course, the point of all that work is to play a game.  Glenn usually runs a game at Little Wars each year.  This year Glenn Drover was going to put on Waterloo with the figures I painted, and he invited me to spend the better part of a week in Chicago.

I arrived in Chicago late Wednesday.  Thursday we packed up the collection and drove to the venue.  We spent a couple of hours setting up the game.  Although we never made an official count, I would guess that we had between 1,800 and 2,000 figures on the table.  We used Glenn's own rules, "Miniature Battles: Napoleon," which he will be publishing this year.

The Whole Table

d'Erlon's Infantry Supported by Cavalry

Dutch-Belgian Light Cavalry

Hanoverian Landwehr

British Lines in the Center

Brunswick Contingent

Bauduin's French Prepare to Attack Hougoumont

Hougoumont Itself

The event organizers put Glenn's game right next to the entrance doors, so everyone coming into the convention got to take in the sight.  Both games saw the battle finished within four hours of playing time, and the scenario was well balanced and enjoyable!  The first game saw a British victory, and the second game saw the French break the British center and reverse history.

The players picked up the rules very quickly, and everyone enjoyed them.  Well, there was one player who was frustrated because she couldn't move every unit every turn, but overall the rules were a hit!  I will certainly be using them for some of my own games.

Glenn Starts Briefing the Players

The British Players Discuss Their Strategy

All the Players Were Pushing Lead within Minutes

d'Erlon's Attack

Glenn's Friend Paul alongside Ivor Janci

The French Players Examine Their Options

The French Took Hougoumont, but Stalled Short of the Ridge

Game Two Took Place Friday Morning

Glenn Helps Players Resolve a Combat

The French Captured the Ridge and Closed in on Wellington
After our games concluded, I had two days to enjoy the convention and play a little myself.  Nearly 200 games were available over the whole four day period, and some of them were stunning!  I never saw anything that equaled the spectacle of Glenn's Waterloo, but then I am a little biased ...

To the Strongest!  Mongols vs. Chinese
The first game I gravitated towards was this.  I have had the rules for a while now, but I never seriously sat down and tried to play with them.  I certainly will now!  The game flowed beautifully, the players always had important decisions to make, and the results seemed historical.  Most ancients rules break down when trying to handle horse archers, but this system handled it beautifully.  I sat down and ordered a terrain mat with grid the very next day.  I think I have found my ancients rules.

Vikings Raid a Saxon Villiage

The Saxons Prepare to Defend

Age of Sail

Waterloo with Paper Figures

"1812: The Invasion of Canada" with Custom Board and 6mm Miniatures

Epic 40mm Lord of the Rings Game

The Figures Were Prepaints

This One Drew a Crowd of Players

Beautiful 15mm Lord of the Rings Game

Excellent Sabot Trays

The Figures Were Beautifully Painted

All of Market-Garden with 15mm Figures

Pirates in 15mm

"To the Shores of Tripoli" American Marines Storm a Fort

The US Navy Supports the Attack

Howard Whitehouse Runs an Entertaining Game

Eutaw Springs in 15mm

100 Days Campaign

Mollwitz.  I Knew It Immediately

French and Indian War

Pretty AWI Game

6mm Napoleonics

A Vietnam Game

French and Indian War with 1/72 Plastics

Another AWI Game

Crusades with some True 25mm

Memoir '44 Using Plastic 54mm Figures

Jurassic Park Game Was a Hit

Thirty Years War Action

Is that Frank Chadwick?!  Why yes, yes it is.

Lots of People Enjoying Games

Saturday afternoon Glenn and I, accompanied by his friend Jack, set up Glenn's new board game designs and played.  We started with "Victory and Glory: Napoleon," which allows players to complete the whole of the Napoleonic Wars in about two hours.  This was my first time playing, and we finished in about 90 minutes.

Victory and Glory: Napoleon
I LOVED this game.  I have followed Glenn's design process over the past two years, and it is very gratifying to see the final product play so well.  This game will get heavy rotation with my gaming group, I can tell.  It should be hitting your local game store within a week or two.

We also played a game of Railroad Rivals, which will be a hit with my family.  It's a tile laying resource delivery game, and Glenn has produced another winner.  Glenn's company is Forbidden Games.  I got a sneak peek at the next three games in the production queue, and they all look like hits to me.  I don't know how much Glenn wants to reveal yet, but I can say that the games are all very different from each other.  Glenn hired an artist from Disney, and it shows!  The look of the games is fantastic.

I have been playing Glenn's board games since 2002, and there is a reason he won the Origins award for Historical Game of the Year.  His designs just keep improving.  I feel very lucky to know him and am grateful that he invited me into his city and his home.  

GP, Mike, and Me
 These guys .... let me tell you.  I've known GP for years through his blog, Lord Ashram's House of War.  Now he and Mike have started Minuteman Miniatures, using 3D scanners and printing to let you create a miniature with YOUR OWN HEAD on it!  After GP and I spent half an hour flattering each other, I sat to have my portrait made.

Coming Soon to a Miniature Near You
 Here is the 3D scan of your humble blogger.  I ordered a Roman officer, Viking war lord, and WWII American officer, all in 28mm.

GP was not the only online friend I met for the first time.  I got to spend a few minutes conversing with George Nafziger, Mark Severin of Scale Creep, Larry Reber of Gettysburg Soldiers, and many more.  I was surprised to have my name recognized by so many people at the show.  I never realized that so many people followed my blog.

On Sunday Glenn and I skipped the closing games and headed out on the town.

Lake Michigan and Downtown Chicago

The El Train
I'm a big baseball fan, and it was a treat to take in a game at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs shut out the Brewers 2-0.

Glenn and Me at Wrigley Field

A Beautiful Day for Baseball

After the game, Glenn and I hit a few bars, then went to Juno Sushi and got the works.  This was the best meal I have had in my life.  Wow.

Juno Sushi

A night of drunken debauchery followed, and by 4:00 AM I was at the airport, bleary eyed and still a little boozy.

It was a great trip, full of good games, good food and drink, and very pleasant people.