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

Monday, April 13, 2015

U.S.S. Reliant

"U.S.S." as in "United Federation of Planets Star Ship." Here is my first 1/2500 plastic model kit completed. Yes, the U.S.S. Reliant. It is a stock build of the AMT plastic Cadet series kit that also features the "refit" Enterprise and a Klingon K'tinga cruiser. I buy these kits at Michael's when I have 40%-off coupons. I buy doubles just for the extra set of decals. Some of these models are literally completely covered in decals and they take a little practice to get right. The decals are worth the work - the "aztec" patterns on the Federation ships just look cool. I had a couple of decal accidents, so was glad to have the extra set. Decal-setting solution - like Micro-Sol - is a must. Some patience helps, too!

Not a perfect build but a good practice ship. I learned a lot building this little model - it's only about 4" long.

How am I going to play with my new model? The plan is to use it for Star Trek: Attack Wing, so it needs a base. Enter CorSec Engineering. CorSec makes a clear 60mm square acrylic base with screw-in support rods with a variety of attachments for the models. 

Still deciding whether to mount the models permanently to each base or make them removable. More on that when I decide.

See ya!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Storm of Spears

I just finished a compelling and enlightening book: A Storm of Spears: Understanding the Greek Hoplite At War. If you have any interest in the manner in which ancient warriors fought each other, this book may be a required read. Amazon describes it thus: 

The backbone of classical Greek armies was the phalanx of heavily armored spearmen, or hoplites. These were the soldiers that defied the might of Persia at Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea and, more often, fought each other in the countless battles of the Greek city-states. For around two centuries they were the dominant soldiers of the Classical world, in great demand as mercenaries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Yet, despite the battle descriptions of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon etc, and copious evidence of Greek art and archaeology, there are still many aspects of hoplite warfare that are little understood or the subject of fierce academic debate.

Christopher Matthew's groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of the literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, re-enactment and ballistic science. He focuses meticulously on the details of the equipment, tactics and capabilities of the individual hoplites. In so doing he challenges some long-established assumptions. For example, despite a couple of centuries of study of the hoplites portrayed in Greek vase paintings, Matthew manages to glean from them some startlingly fresh insights into how hoplites wielded their spears.

These findings are supported by practical testing with his own replica hoplite panoply and the experiences of a group of dedicated re-enactors. He also tackles such questions as the protective properties of hoplite shields and armor and the much-vexed debate on the exact nature of the 'othismos', the climax of phalanx-on-phalanx clashes. This is an innovative and refreshing reassessment of one of the most important kinds of troops in ancient warfare, sure to make a genuine contribution to the state of knowledge.

Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book, closely based on his doctoral thesis, will be his first, although he has already had several articles published in academic journals. 'He is currently working on a new translation of Aelian's work on tactics and co-editing (with Dr Matthew Trundle) Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae, both of which will be published by Pen & Sword.

“…groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, reenactment and ballistic science…painstakingly examines and reconstructs details of hoplites’ equipment, tactics and capabilities…Both experts and laymen can gain fresh knowledge from reading this well written analysis of ancient warfare…”
Toy Soldier and Model Figure Magazine

"The author has taken a fresh look at old evidence of ancient Greek writers and artists and coupled that with modern research. . . . In the process, some interesting and groundbreaking developments emerge that shed new light on just what the ancient writers meant and how much artistic license was used in creating the vase paintings we envision when we think of this period of history. This is a serious work of intellectual pursuit."—IPMS/USA

"…indispensable reading for anyone interested in ancient warfare."

"...practical and thought provoking...a well-argued, well-written and well-illustrated chance to think about the problem anew."
The Historian 

I recommend this book unreservedly. It changed the way I view Hoplite warfare. As a martial artist and product development professional I appreciate Dr. Matthew's use of re-enactment and applied science to reach his conclusions.

So what "game effect" does all this theorizing make? I don't think it changes the way Hoplites should be represented in any of the rulesets I currently use. It may effect the miniatures chosen to represent said Hoplites. For instance, according to Dr. Matthews my favorite beloved Wargames Foundry Hoplites are using an overhand grip to throw a javelin. . .

. . . since spear-fighting while in the phalanx was done underhanded. . .

I have a lot of these overhand-spear-wielding figures in the Lead Mountain. I sure do like them, even though I now believe they don't accurately depict Hoplites in the Phalanx.

Hmmm. Vive artistic license!

See ya!