Monday, August 24, 2015

Recon, Recruits and Samurai

This weekend I visited Recon, a local "game event" held at the Geek Partnership Society in Minneapolis and organized by Mr. George Hord (Thanks, George!) Bruce and I planned to play some DBA/HOTT/D3H2, but Bruce wasn't feeling well so I decided to just go and see some friends. Mr. Hord was playing modern MicroArmor, Mr. James was playing 15mm American Civil War with Regimental Fire and Fury and Mr. Ladd was playing a 28mm Napoleonics game with "a new set of rules with an unpronounceable French name." 

Also got to watch a demo game of SAGA played between Jim (Vikings) and John (Norse-Gael). John hosted the game and provided both of the very-nicely-painted warbands. . . so I have to apologize for the lousy cell phone photo of the game above, which does not do it a semblance of justice, taken on the last turn when the game had come down to the feuding warlords and a handful of supporters. I have the rules and the dice, of course, and lots of figures waiting for paint. . . we'll see if this was enough inspiration to start applying that paint. John and Jim were both very welcoming and patient with my watching (er. . . questions). Thanks!

Still making progress on the F&IW game project for Recruits next month. Here are some "garden fields" I made from Build-A-Rama mats, which are also usable for DBA:

Here are the John Jenkins Indians and Rangers with their new basing:

I have a bit more terrain to finish up but the project seems to be well in hand now. I will post a map and a bit about the scenario next week. 

Friday the Steel Fist Miniatures Kickstarter order arrived. It's always fun getting "little guys" (as Lady Amok refers to them) in the mail! Between Perry and Steel Fist we now have all the important daimyo at Sekigahara in 28mm. 

The figures are quite good; well sculpted with some separate heads, weapons and banners. Even the packaging is nice - printed boxes with "matchbox" sleeves.

Steel Fist also has decal sheets for nobori and sashimonos, too. Gorgeous. A lot of the appeal of the Sengoku Jidai period for me is the graphic design. Here are some photos of the minis and decal sheets:

And, because someone I am sure is wondering how the Perry and Steel Fist minis compare, here is a photo. . . wait for it. . . comparison. Steel Fist on the left , Perry on the right. 

The humans work together nicely, with similar size proportions, even if the Steel Fist minis are just a tad heftier. Not so for the horses; the Steel Fist horses are "heroically larger" in proportion, though I think one could use them with Perry models as long as they weren't next to each other on the same stand. We'll definitely see about that sometime in the future. Definitely.

See ya!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our First Game of D3H2

For our first official game of D3H2, we decided to play identical armies against each other, and keep the fantasy elements to a minimum. So we used two of Bruce's Macedonian Successor armies, vanilla standard except for the Hero General elements of both armies. Both armies are 24 points; nearly standard 12-element DBA armies.

We wanted to work completely through the rules, following each section in turn from terrain placement to deployment to actual gameplay. We allowed a slightly larger than 3 square foot playing area, but otherwise tried to play straight up.

I thought it might be fun to document a game or two using a photo/diagram format - the results of which comprise this post. Bruce's army is shown using white movement arrows and type, mine is in black. Combat is shown using red "bursts" and eliminated elements are denoted with red boxes. The red arrows are are post-combat "flees." The numbers in circles after the army names track that army's losses in points. The first army to lose 12 points, and more points than the enemy, loses the game. I'd be interested to know whether you can follow the action from the photos.

Bruce defended in this game, and from the Arable terrain list chose 2 compulsory "Ploughed Fields," plus two "Gentle Hills" and one "Woods" feature. Dicing for them created the battlefield as shown in the photos. The Ploughs aren't quite legal-sized, but as they counted as "Good Going" in this battle, it didn't matter.

The photo above shows the initial deployment; each subsequent photo captures the game after a further pair of bounds. It was close-fought and neck-and-neck until the final bound.

Then on Bruce's next bound I lost an Auxilia, making the score 9-7. With my Pikes at risk of being outflanked in the center, I decided to break my usual rule about minimizing risk and attacked his Hero General with my own, though with a single overlap advantage. We both rolled high; I rolled a 5 and Bruce a 6, which meant we tied. Normally a tie score is a stalemate and the combat continues next bound. . . but not when Heroes fight each other. An odd total meant that both Heroes died! And so we both died. Our Heroes were each worth 6 points - 4 for the element cost and 2 points additional for the loss of the General - which took both our totals over 12. However, the loss of the Auxilia the bound before meant that my losses were higher by two points, so I lost the game in dramatic HOTT fashion, 15-13.

Game over, man!

We shook hands and played another game. . . may be the next post. 

See ya!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Back to the French and Indian War

Here's a look at the new basing treatment for my John Jenkins 54mm models. Some members on the Lead Adventure Forum suggested the plain bases detracted from the overall aesthetics of "The Game."  As a reminder, you can see the original bases in the banner for the blog above. Of course I resisted making any of the suggested changes. Re-basing is a drag. But after adapting the five models above I have to agree with the  critiques. It'll take some time to redo all the bases in the pipeline, but it won't be difficult.

Key concern was creating a look that worked on both the long grass and the cork surface representing the "woodland floor." 

What do you think? Does it work? I have 40 bases to redo before Recruits in September. I've chosen the scenario and plan to do something a little more "skirmishy" then the last few games. Also working on a few repaints; specifically some early-war New York Provincials, based on the illustration of Plate E1 from the Osprey Men-at-Arms Colonial American Troops 1610-1774 (2). The original Lt. Jenkins of the Virginia Provincials is on the left in the photo following, standing next to his newly-found cousin Lt. Jenkins of the New York Provincials.

I really like the "buckskin and drabs" as described in the Osprey, and supported by this additional research I found at

The New York Provincials were Troops who were raised from within the ranks of the County Militia Company's of the Colony / Province New York, for Service to and for the Colony / Province of New York. Each and every County in the Colony / Province of New York was mandated by the Colonial Government of New York to fulfill a quota of men to serve in the Provincial Army. Once the Quota of the New York Provincial Army was filled, the New York Provincial Army would then be taken into the British North American Army establishment, and the New York Provincial Troops could be sent anywhere the British Army needed them. The New York Provincials took part in every Major and most every minor engagement of the war in New York, and they were sent into the New England Colony's, they were part of the British Army that went into French Canada and were present at the surrender of Montreal.

The New York Provincial Troops were issued their uniforms, paid, armed, equipped, and fed by the Province of New York. (after 1757, N.Y. purchased most of it arms and accouterments from the British Government, ie: the King.) The New York Provincials wore uniforms much like their Regular British Army Counterparts, as their style and type of uniform was copied from the warrants and mandates of the British Regular Army. In the very beginning of the French and Indian War, (1756 and early 1757,) the New York Provincial Troops were wearing Regimental Uniform Coats that were Blue and had facings of red, with Blue waistcoats and breeches and Black cocked hats. Their firearms and accouterments, for the most part, came from home. By the end of 1757, the New York Provincial uniform was beginning to change, as their Regimental Coats were changed from the Blue Coats faced with red to Green Regimental Coats faced with green, and this would be the uniform that the New York Provincials would wear until the end of the war. (The Green color was called a "Yellow Drab" and is not unlike the olive drab worn by the Military today.) The Officers in the New York Provincials were not issued their uniforms, and clothing, and therefore had to purchase their own uniforms, and clothing. In the early war years (1756 and early 1757,) the Officers were found in Red Regimental Coats with Blue or Green facings, and their lace was gold. As in the case of the enlisted troops by the end of 1757 the Officers began wearing Green faced green Regimental Coats with silver lace. But the color of the Green of the Officers coats was a darker forest green.

In the year of 1758 there were some other alterations to the Uniform of The New York Provincial Enlisted Troops, such as their hats brims were cut down to 2 1/2 inches and no longer "Cocked", their accruements were the same as was issued to the regular British troops, (but, instead of white leather belts, the New Yorkers wore natural leather or brown colored belts.) All the New Yorkers were issued the standard Kings muskets and bayonets.

The Men of Suffolk County always responded willingly and eagerly to the Call to serve their King and their Province! There is not one documented record to indicate that any men were ever drafted into the New York Provincial Army from Suffolk County - they were all volunteers!

 And I'll close with something only marginally related. . . Did you know Peter Cushing (yes, THAT Peter Cushing, of Hammer Studios fame) was a wargamer? Here's a link to the 1956 Pathe newsreel on You Tube.

See ya!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

D3H2: DBA or HOTT? Huh?

 I use to play Great Hordes!, or GH! for short. GH! was a hybrid of DBA and HOTT, based on the basic text of HOTT 2.0, with the addition of the DBA troop types and associated rules, a points system and a few "tweaks" provided by its very opinionated creator, Jeff Bolton (still miss you, Jeff!). I was probably its main (maybe only) torchbearer after Jeff passed, because it allowed us (hey there, Tulsa!) to play Ancients to Medievals and pure fantasy with a single set of rules.

Now DBA 3.0 is out and while still essentially DBA, it is a more compelling, chaotic and nuanced gaming experience. If you didn't like DBA before, you probably still won't like it (unless age has brought you wisdom : ) but I like it even more. A good succinct review highlighting changes in 3.0 can be found here.

A couple of months ago I discovered D3H2 on The Miniatures Page. I hope Mr. Tom Thomas will pardon my re-posting here (with slight editing) his post from 28 October 2014, to save you, Dear Reader, the pain of wading through some Irrelevance to get to the Relevant:

"I created D3H2, which is basically DBA3.0 with the HOTT elements added in. As part of the development team for DBA3.0, I was able to incorporate the changes needed to bring HOTT up to 3.0 standards while we labored away on 3.0, hence the supplement was created in parallel with the new version of DBA3.0.

"I've played HOTT since version 1.0 and have always felt many of its methods were better than DBA 2.2 – and I managed to get Phil to agree and add them to DBA3.0. On the other hand many of the new features added to DBA 3.0 (like Fast), while great for DBA are even better ideas for HOTT – which needs to cover a wide variety of fantasy worlds (and be flexiable enough to cover worlds yet unwritten).

"HOTT's original tongue-in-cheek style doesn't reflect the more realistic take of today's fantasy novels (I'm not sure it really reflected the better works of fantasy from times past either). D3H2 allows a more historically rooted game but with fantasy elements.

"Generally the rules follow DBA3.0 but I have retained the point system, victory conditions and Big Battle aspects of HOTT2.0 as I believe them to be superior to DBA3.0.

"I have used all elements from both games (with a few blended together) so it is in some ways a bit more complex than either game. Feel free to limit yourself to just the pure "HOTT" elements. (But then I can't field my Lannister Pike blocks!) Its all in there but use only what you want.

"This unofficial version (though using only official rules) has greatly increased interest in HOTT locally (which frankly, due to play balance issues and weariness with the stereotyped elements, had been waning).

"If you're interested contact me at (you must own a copy of DBA 3.0 to use the supplement).

"We just had our first tournament using D3H2 here in Atlanta. I will be running demo events at Siege of Augusta, Nashcon and Historicon.


So while GH! was HOTT 2.0 with DBA 2.2 (I think) added in, D3H2 is DBA 3.0 with HOTT 2.0 added. And I am very happy with the new hybrid. Sleep well, GH!

So what changes will the HOTT player face in D3H2? 

Access to the DBA troop types: Scythed Chariots, War Wagons, Camelry, Pikes (YAY!) and the proper light troops, Light Horse, Auxilia and Psiloi. We get to keep Shooters (Teppo for my Samurai!) and Bows both, and the rules for Longbows and Crossbows from DBA.

2 kinds of Hordes! Tougher DBA Hordes costing 2 points and "Inexhaustible" Hordes - meaning they can regenerate ala HOTT - for a single point.

Solid and Fast troop designations, and the ability to designate even more troop types than in DBA. Now you can have "Fast Knights," typified by Macedonian Companions.

DBA players now have access to a Points System based on HOTT.

Army-assigned terrain types and terrain pieces that are placed via a dice method that makes it way harder to tailor the battlefield.

Camps and 3 types of built-up areas. Note that the DBA "City" with all of its complicated denizen rules is replaced instead with the simpler HOTT Stronghold.

More limited deployment and movement in base-widths instead of paces. Movement is generally increased and the infantry even more so relative to cavalry.

LIght Horse and Psiloi moving more than once in a turn.

Less rear support during close combat but the addition of some side support. I really like this. Combined with the Solid/Fast designations and new close combat results on tied scores, some real granularity in troop type differences is created.

Some additional foot types pursue automatically when winning a close combat, or have the option to pursue in some cases.

DBA players now get to play until half their army is destroyed instead of a third. I like this, too.

Give DBA 3.0 or D3H2 a try. You might like 'em. If you like GH!, you'll like D3H2, and best of all, it's sanctioned by the author, Phil Barker.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

While on the subject of scale. . .

 Last week I played my first game of DBA 3.0 at Village Games in Champlin. Three games, actually. This latest update of DBA is the best DBA ever. I'll provide more on the games played in an upcoming post. That same day, after playing 3 games of DBA, I watched a local Star Trek: Attack Wing tournament for a little while. The day of gaming got me to thinking about my last post on Star Trek "scale." Though Star Trek: Attack Wing uses ridiculously scaled-down "ranges," it didn't keep me from enjoying "the game." The same way that playing with twelve elements of around fifty total 28mm models to represent an army of maybe 50,000 soldiers is enjoyable - see the photo above. 

Once I enter the "game world" I accept the "world" we've constructed with our rules and our models and just. . . play the game. In between games I think about how I need more models to create a more realistic impression of the masses of soldiers that were present on ancient battlefields. . . like this photo of some 15mm models based for the Command and Colors:Ancients rules (I was working on rules for the Republican Roman Legions). . .

It looks really cool but I have just as much fun with 12 elements of 50 soldiers. . .  at least during the game. So how do I explain - or rationalize - the scale and size of my French and Indian War project? Obsession, I suppose. . .

Happy Fourth of July! Freedom is good.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trek Observation. . . Embrace the Geek.

My Butterfly Brain is still thinking about gaming in the Trek World, mostly because I like the spaceship designs. So I'm thinking about where this project is going to fit into my already overloaded priority matrix, and the idea of scale again rears its head because I need an idea of how much space and how many ships will be needed. . . and I remember seeing a WW2 naval game once played on a gymnasium floor to represent scale distance and I thought "wouldn't that be a cool way to play with spaceships."

That led to some work with the calculator to work out some scale ranges. The little 4" Reliant is actually over 800 feet long in "real life." According to the Haynes Manual on the U.S.S.Enterprise, the original Enterprise's phasers had a range of 300,000 kilometers (roughly 200,000 miles), and photon torpedoes were effective out to 750,000 kilometers (roughly 500,000 miles). Yikes. 500,000 miles is almost two times the distance between the Earth and Moon!

So at 1/2500 scale, phaser range for the 4" Reliant is 77 MILES and photon torpedoes are good to 200 MILES. That's about the distance from Tulsa to Kansas City! The gym floor suddenly seems ridiculous. Along with the idea that maneuver or firing arcs matter. . .

Not sure that models are the way to game Star Trek after all. . . gonna think about this some more.

Sunday, May 24, 2015