Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cheeseheads! Introducing the 2nd Wisconsin

My painting work has been focusing on the American Civil War of late, and here's the Second Wisconsin, to swell the ranks of the Iron Brigade as represented already in my collection by the 9th Wisc. I love the formal look of these guys, which are a mix of 28m Foundry, Old Glory, and a few Redoubt thrown in, collected over the years. Flags are by GMB.

Foundry command group:

One of my favourite figures, Old Glory's screaming bald sergeant: "Don't come any closer or I'll hit you with this hat!"

Both Wisconsin regiments advance together, the 9th leading the 2nd.

I hope to get them into action soon. Many thanks for looking.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Still Thinking About An ACW Campaign

Since a few folks have emailed me about how this campgaign might work, H
here are my thoughts, such as they are.

1) I will use a more developed version of the map posted here

1) Movement will be point to point. I will give players some guidelines for their orders, such as "Bde A will move in column of march from Xtown to Ytown" or "B Regt will send a company to scout Ztown for enemy forces".

2) Players will only know their order of battle and will only know the players on their team. Knowledge of enemy forces will develop through reconnaissance, troops in contact, etc.

3) Players will submit their orders to me and I will update the master map.

4) Battles will be fought out using TFL rules, either TCHAE for large actions or TSS for smaller actions such as patrols. For naval actions, I will use a set a boardgame called Shot and Shell. Players will have some opportunity to see the tabletop develop and issue orders, but I will layout and fight the actions on my tabletop.

5) I may write some very rudimentary rules for supply and command and control. Still thinking about that.

This is as far as my thinking has advanced and I am probably a month away from starting this.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Work in Progress: Dirty Gunners and Pretty Federals

As my last post mentions, all my painting of late is American Civil War. The following pictures show some of what's currently on the workbench, taken with my iphone.

Here are two pictures of Confederate artillerists from Sash and Sabre. I've always been curious about this supplier, which has an extensive ACW range, and decided to check them out. Their pack of ten gunners is nicely molded with some very distinctive faces and lots of cool facial hair. They are however dimunutive, on par with the ACW line of Foundry. They don't mix well with larger figures such as Redout and Renegade. My friend Matt the armoured officer looked at them and said "Dirty, dirty gunners", and the phrase kind of stuck in my head.

I also bought two Napoleon 12pd guns from Sash and Sabre and they are nice castings. A final word about S&S' customer service. They took a long time to ship my order and when it finally arrived they got it wrong, but they did work hard to fix it and let me keep the pack mistakenly shipped to me, which was impressive. I would probably order from them again, though preferably from a distributor.

I am also just finishing four bases of Federal infantry, which will become the second regiment in my Iron Brigade. I've had these guys for a while and they are a real mix.

The guys on the right are Old Glory from their Iron Brigade pack, and on the left are the Foundry infantry in Hardee hats.

The command team on the right here are Foundry, and on the left, the two in the foreground are from Redoubt - clunky figures but I like them. They should all look ok on the table.

I started collecting the Iron Brigade because they have a cool, early war look about them, before everyone got sensible and scruffy, and because I am generally good about avoiding elite units and am giving myself a bit of a reward. They will be a bit eastern and out of place on the Bluffsburg campaign, though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thinking About An ACW Campaign - The Battle for Bluffsburg

Years ago, when my wife still had family in her native state of Mississippi, I spent a few days one visit retracing the Vicksburg Campaign, which is a fascinating blend of naval and army combined operations, overland campaigning and siege warfare. I started doodling a small point-to-point sketch map of a fictional part of the state, centering on the imaginary town of Bluffsburg. Some of the place names on the map are actual Mississippi place names, chosen because I liked the sound of them.

I then scribbled down an order of battle, based on what my 28mm ACW miniatures collection might be able to field if I painted like hell and made some more purchases, particularly cavalry and artillery. The idea was that this would be a backwater campaign, with the Union having a reinforced Division plus several river gunboats and transports, while the Confederates would have a smaller, scratched together division with a few dubious gunboats and some shore batteries. I won't list the OOBs here because I may talk some folks into participating in an online version of this campaign.

My plan now is to paint some more stuff, polish up the map using MS Paint or maybe an online program called Hexographer, and get up to speed on some rules. For larger table actions (probably a brigade a side) I will likely use Too Fat Lardies' They Couldn't Hit An Elephant (TCHAE), and for smaller actions, Terrible Sharp Sword (TSS) by the same publisher. TSS holds promise because I expect the game to have lots of opportunities for scouting and recce actions as the two sides maneouvre on the map and develop each other's positions. Hopefully more posts on this to come. If you're interested in participating online, email me at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Audet's Church: The Aftermath

In his second Platoon Forward action, Audet succeeded at his task, capturing the terrain objective given to him, as well as two prisoners, and driving off several German units. A decisive victory.

Using the PF mechanism for Post Game events, we start with a Freeform Event, which is whatever the player wants to happen. Audet, being a brave but self-centred glory hound, wants to impress his Company Commander, Major Charpentier, and have him pass that word up to Battalion. Considering he won the last game and was impressive in it, leading the final assault on the church, that gives him a -2 modifier on a Likely result on the All Knowing Odds Table. A d10 is rolled, with an modified "0" result. Maj. Charpentier will be mentioning 18 Platoon's good work the next time he sees the Colonel.

The next step is the Fixed Events table, and an unmodified roll of 8 on 1d10 gives a result of "8", a Non-Player Character Result. A further roll on the Non Player Character Effect table gives an umodified "5" on 1d10, which means an NPC asks to Tag Along on the next mission. Who would that be? Since Audet did capture a church, perhaps he learned something from the Cure there that might be of interest to the Chauds' Padre? Or perhaps the Intelligence Officer or Major Charpentier wants to gain some further knowledge about the local area? Hmmm, I'll have to think about that.

Looking ahead to the next mission, Audet does not have any replacements yet so here is his lineup.

Next mission:

Germans attacking
Ambush scenario

Friday, October 7, 2011

German Weapon Memes

This and a bunch of other photos made me smile today.

IABSM Third Edition En Route!

I'm very happy to say I've ordered the long-awaited and much celebrated (in small but elite circles) new edition of Richard Clarke's new wargame rules, I Ain't Been Shot Mum! IABSM rules "are written to provide the gamer with ease of use and accuracy at Company level. The basic unit in this game is the eight or ten figure section, with the lowest command being the Platoon or Troop. The rules are written with a focus on command and control and the importance of leadership on the world war two battlefield."

An earlier edition of IABSM was the first set of TFL rules I bought, and their focus on leadership, friction, and distinctively and lightheartedly English "toolbox" (rather than North American legalist) approach endeared them to me. Much excited watching of the mailbox in the week to come, and further comments here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Waterloo in Plastic: A Brief Battle Report

Earlier this summer I met an interesting guy called Charlie Miller, a retired gunner and Mountie with some interesting hobbies, including reenacting a NW Rebellion (ca 1885) Canadian artillery troop, which he talked me (it wasn't a hard sell) into joining.

Last Friday night I was over at Charlie's place for a wargame before he and his wife took off to spend the winter in Mexico (who can blame them?). Charlie has been collecting wargames figures and models for years, including 1/76th or HO scale Napoleonics, mostly Airfix with some rather ancient metal figures thrown in. Such a collection may not sound that enticing to wargamers used to playing with larger and better sculpted figures, but on the table, it works.

Charlie's idea for the game was to do the center and British left of Waterloo. Here are some pictures taken with my iphone.

The hexmap is something that Charlie had printed, and gave the game the air and feel of an old Avalon Hill or SPI Quad game. It certainly eliniated the need for tape measures.

Close uo of French infantry and artillery.

The rules we used were Charlie's own homebrew set, and very much a work in progress, but they were simple and made for a quick and interesting game. The most notable feature of the rules was a simultaneous movement system, with both players starting on the same side of the table and working across it. You might think that this approach would be problematic, given the temptation to watch what the other guy was doing and then readjust, but we both seemed able to resist that temptation and it flowed nicely.

In retrospect I started with my infantry too far foward, beyond the range of my supporting guns on the hills behind. On my left I moved my forces back and was mostly ably to withstand the French cavalry. On my right we had a glorious donnybrook with French and English Guards regiments pouring volleys into one another and some swirling cavalry charges. Here's the final view on the right.

We had to call it at 10pm and declared it a draw. Hopefully once Charlie gets back from Mexico in the spring we can spend a day at it. A very enjoyable night of old school wargaming.

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