Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Music for Colonial Wargaming

This is the stuff. It gets me in a Darkest Africa mood just looking it at the uniforms.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blitzkrieg - Used for other Games

I recently came across an article over at Lead Doesn't Bleed that discusses his love affair with the old TAHGC classic, Blitzkrieg. Evidently, the author of Lead Doesn't Bleed is active on the Consimworld Blitzkrieg Board as well.

He, it seems, uses the game (and the mythical countries presented therein) as the setting for other gaming activities, and most recently has started building up armies to play Cold War Commander set in that world.

Years ago, I did something similar with the game Russian Campaign, also from TAHGC. I set up forces for the Soviet and German side, that corresponded to platoons and companies in the OGRE gaming world, then I moved them around. I had a repair/reinforcement schedule and rules for what else was happening in the world (partisans/insurgents, economy changes, diplomacy, strategic strikes, etc). I played it out. This was during the brief time I lived in West Virginia, in 9th grade (the same time period where I got interested in both Historical Miniatures and Roleplaying).

Anyway, I think this is a great idea for Cold War Commander. A similar application could be something like the mythical countries that one can generate for AK-47 (see a nice review here). For fun see the AK-47 army event sheets here. Those events are all rolled up before the battle, and really make each game a mini-campaign.

The world of Blitzkrieg is a large continent, crisscrossed with roads, rail lines, and encompassing every sort of major terrain (from swamps and forests to mountains and deserts). The west is dominated by the Blue Empire of Azurnerreich, and the east is controlled by the Red State of Krasnynorad. In between, five smaller satellite states make things interesting. In the west, we have Nord Walkure and Sud Walkure (both in the Blue Hegemony), while in the east we have New Endor and San Estados as states under the Red Shadow. In the center there is Calaedia, which is almost neutral, but leans to the Red (Krasnynorad). Some very interesting things can be done with this simple structure.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From a friend of mine - Speed painting Napoleonics

My friend Carl penned this interesting missive.

A DNA induced requirement to produce more and more painted Napoleonic figures in any scale can be really frustrating if one does not paint quickly, with extra social negatives if one is not a master painter from birth. The quality painting of J. Croswhite, E. Ackerman, and C. Turnitsa shines as examples of what can be. If you are not one of these gentlemen, we’re here to help.

First, find all the painting related articles and pamphlets. Throw away one fifth of them, as the authors are master painters who make everything look easy or have legions of “employees” to paint for them or can afford ten dollar ounces of paint.. Throw away another fifth, as the schemes only work for a very specific army or navy, and the author left something out anyway so yours will never look as good as his. You can keep the next fifth, about keeping brushes clean, using good brushes and paint, securing good lighting, as this is good advice. The last fifth is up to you to keep or not, free will and all and maybe it works for you.

If though, you forget to clean brushes because your cat and child are destroying the house and you need to intervene, if the lighting isn’t great because you’re on a budget, if the only one painting is you, if your buddies aren’t into assembly line painting or team painting is going to crash into the giant mollusk named “Bob”, wonderful fellow, brings pizza and all, but has to be watched, this is your article.

If you are tough enough for some social stigma, if your fellow gamers can handle the concept, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat. Not in the game, you need to be beaten if you do, but in the strategy of painting.

First, make up the nations and their forces. This is all kinds of liberating, because now you can be painting Napoleonic Hawaiians instead of a lace drowned Hussar. You can pick which figures fit your painting style, rather than slogging through required forces that don’t have any interest and will be sold off or dumped half painted. Just out of the blue, let us take Payepally armies. These are dressed in Landswehr uniforms, because it’s my army and I said so. Landswehr uniforms can be used up to the Civil War, so changing your mind is facilitated. Make sure your rules don’t require a gun park of more than two guns. Cossacks may be crud in most rules, but they paint easy and you can write your own rules.

If you can get your spouse to promise to help paint and she doesn’t, well, par for the course, my friend.

Get the figures out of the bags, clean them of extra metal or plastic unless that’s your look, dump them all into a box (war is rough), and take them outside and primer them black. If you primer indoors with no ventilation you should eat the can, as it is kinder and quicker. Buy an oven for the garage and use it to dry the figures or melt them if plastic. I can’t defend against all the stupid after all. When dry, dry brush them white. Don’t go nuts, you’ve got a hundred figures to do, three different branches, and if you keep adding figures to the total you’ll give up and take up haiku, I promise.

While that is drying, look at the paints in hand and decide your uniform from those. “Honest, sweetie, I’m being frugal, I’m not buying any new paints for this”. But if you do, crafty places tend to have really big bottles of paint comma water soluble, for not much. Write All Your Decisions Down, change them maybe once or twice, and then cast the decisions in stone. It’s the only way my friend.

BTW, one of the fifths you tossed was about how your work environment needed to be right for –you-. I cannot help you there, as wife, children, pets, friends, and telemarketeers have a radar for when you want to paint, and will do everything in their power to make sure you can’t. I suggest feigning no interest at all in what you are doing, and as long as you look lump like, they’ll all leave you alone. True story, although my family was keyed to me merely picking up a brush. Unemployment and school age children are great for getting things painted, but it’s tough to maintain the miniatures budget in the same time frame. Finding a job that lets one paint is just an urban legend.

Anyhow: if you are really strong, Nappy armies frequently put covers over things, oilskins over hats, fabric around gun locks, overcoats over everything, etc. These are excellent ideas for speed painting, will not win you any awards. But your forces will be done, bringing a smug smile to your face while your fellow gamers moan about the slows. Of course, you may wind up with an army you can’t use because everyone else changed scale or period while you were out getting cheetos, but you takes your chances, and you get to paint an oppo army, so good for you.

Get clean big brushes. Paint hat and coat the same color, don’t do the hat if oilskinning. Paint the pants, if a different color. Use smaller paint brushes. Paint the flesh colors and the rifles. Be careful but not obsessive because if this works right one of the later paints will bury your mistakes. Paint the blacks of the leather and fabrics, and if you’re smart it’ll all be black Get even smaller brushes. Paint the metals, and be obsessive with this. Paint the facing colors. With really good small brushes, go back and neaten everything up. Do it again. One more time. Have someone else look because they will find things instantly that you missed. Neaten up one more time. Go to hardware store, replace brushes you forgot to clean. Stop chewing on the paint brushes, you’re scaring the cats.

Carefully carry it all out to the garage, pick a very special wood stain of the lighter persuasion, and wash down the figures. Wait five minutes, brush off the blobs. Wait five more, brush off the blobs. Wait five more more, brush off the blobs. Check often during the drying time, because once the blobs set it’s ugly, especially over light colors. If sticky, put out in sun to dry. If still sticky, chuck it, sell an organ, and buy the army you want from a painting service. If not sticky, touch up the light colors by dry brushing or dotting, then coat with matt lacquer. Make sure the lacquer doesn’t cloud up. Really, at this stage, make sure the lacquer doesn’t cloud up. No, Really. Not to worry, five or six armies and you’ll have this down to a science or be watching televised poker as a hobby.

Cranking out speedy armies is a good way to irritate people. Why I recall buying a set of figures from a fellow who’d had them for five years untouched, I used them in the game next week. Really honked him off for years. Speedy armies is way to get into the game before interest shifts to poker or boardgames or 15mms. Speedy armies don’t mind being sold on e-bay, or life leaves you starting over again.

Over to you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cool free gamnig magazine - Irregular

Recently became aware of Irregular a free (downloadable pdf) quarterly gaming magazine that covers most everything from RPGs to historical miniatures gaming.

Nice, check it out.


Speed Circuit

A short AAR on a recent ODMS game night featuring a bunch of runs of Speed Circuit is located at the ODMS blog.

The important thing over here at Gaming with Chuck is that I won one of those games. My tactic was to max out my car design on initial speed, and then when I had to make a tough choice on wiping out in a turn, I would choose to spin out and start over - at 80MPH!!

Anyway, I won one of the games, and that called for a celebration. So what better way to celebrate than with the Ode to Joy!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Napoleonic Gaming Poll

Interesting article about Der Kriegsspiel

Zone of Influence has a great article called On Debord’s Kriegsspiel and Board Wargames.

This is of course interesting to me as a gamer, but also interesting to me professionally, as I am currently writing a book chapter for a textbook on combat simulations tracing the history of military simulations.


April 5 1242 - Battle of Lake Peipus

Also known as the Battle of the Ice, this was a great medieval battle that checked the Eastward expansion of not only the Teutonic Knightly orders, but also of Roman Catholicism in 13th Russia.

The 768th anniversary of the battle of Lake Peipus - or "Schlacht auf dem Eise" as the German's know it.

It was the battle between the Teutonic Knights and their Estonian peasant allies (all led by Prince-Bishop Herman of Dorpat who was intent on invading the neighboring Novgorod. The troops included those of the Order as well as the Estonian troops (Chuds) totaling about 4000.

The exiled prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod was begged to come back by the people when they knew that the Teutonics were coming to get them, so they begged Alexander to come back - which he did. He hooked up with his brother Andrei. Their forces consisted of the Druzhina (bodyguards) of the two princes, plus Pagans and Eastern Orthodox Christian troops (total about 5000).

The battle was fought over the thick ice of Lake Peipus and the attached Lake Pskovskoe (now you know why that lake is never remembered). The knights and their allies battled the main line of the Russians for hours, when Alexander had his numerous archers join the fray. That disordered the Teutonics, and when the light Russian cavalry appeared, they fled back over the frozen lake. On the far side they began to rally and gather for a counter-charge, but by that time the thinner ice at the edge of the lake began to give way, and (according to legend and the Eisenstein movie made under Stalin's regime) the knights crashed through the ice to their frozen watery grave.

Regardless of the outcome, it is a great medieval battle, and worthy of a Wayne presentation (he has the Teutonic figures, I am sure).

All fought (originally) on April 5, 1242.


One Monk Miniatures - Free

One Monk Miniatures - some of the finest Cardboard Cutouts available - are now free. Yep, all of em, on the website. Free.

Go check em out, and download some if you like cardboard figures. Lots of Fantasy and Sci-Fi goodness to be had.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Hard Plastic 28mm Figures from HaT

It is a long tradition that HäT Industrie holds up in doing soft plastic figures. They cover 1/72 and 1/32 figures, in soft plastic, very well.

However (this is big for wargamers) they are now starting to do a hard plastic line in 28mm. The initial releases are covered here with a listing, as well as lots of pictures of masters, box art, and painted samples.

It appears that the initial target is for El Cid (Christians and Moors), as well as Napoleonics. The French seem well targeted, but also some other nations. The masters for Prussian Landwehr look great.

MacPhee's Miniature Men (a great blog about toy soldiers and the painting and modeling that goes along with them) has a couple of articles about the new French Legere. This is a two part series with part 1 here and part 2 here. Earlier MacPhee wrote about the also released Bavarians from the same series. He has a blog entry with lots of pictures of the sprues, etc, along with comparison shots located here.

The nice thing about this for wargamers is that it means that the plastic 28mm market is growing enough to attract the attention of the larger plastics manufacturers. I hope this isn't the death knell for Perry, Victrix, Wargames Factory and Warlord Games. I like 'em all, and don't want to see their plastic efforts go the way of the dodo.