Monday, September 20, 2021

Cannon, Cross and Crescent Play Test

I finished up my initial 1/2400 Tumbling Dice renaissance galley Turkish and Christian fleets so I decided to play a very small play test of David Manley's Cannon, Cross and Crescent ("CCC") quickplay rules for the period. 

A little about CCC. They are, as mentioned, quickplay and have some DBx feel to them. Ships have factors for heavy and light guns, boarding, stoutness, movement and turning ability (there are a few others). Different types (and nationalities) of ships have different values for these factors to reflect how the ships were constructed and how their peoples like to fight. 

Heavy guns have a 6" range and light guns 3". Light guns have a much wider arc of fire however. Shooting combat is straight forward: roll a dice, add your gunnery factor and any other modifiers and your opponent rolls a dice and adds it to his ship's stoutness factor. If you win small, expect some damage or crew casualties. If you win big, you may wreck your opponent outright. Boarding is similar: get stuck in, roll to attempt boarding (anything but a "1" is good to go), roll dice and compare boarding factors and modifiers. 

A turn is comprised of a command phase where you attempt to make repairs and check morale among other things which is followed by a series of action phases (3 action phases per side). You determine which side's action phase it is by drawing a card. I opted for a randomly drawn colored die (I had three red dice for the Turks and three white dice for the Spanish). This creates some additional uncertainty from the normal IGO/UGO system.

Here is the Turkish fleet comprising of three light galleys and one regular galley (2nd from bottom), the Turkish fleet is also accompanied by four bases of small boats. In the CCC rules, these can tag along to the big ships and add their manpower to boarding actions. The Turks are already fairly powerful with boarding actions as it is, so you know what they will want to do...

The Christian fleet, comprising of two galleys and two light galleys. For today's game I opted to make them Spanish. The Spanish are strong in boarding and have good firepower for their light guns. The light galleys don't have heavy guns small boats for the Spanish since they have two regular size galleys in this fight.

Here is the relative dispositions of the fleets looking from the Spanish side of the table.

No real tactics will be on display for this play test, Don Juan and Barbarossa are probably very disappointed in the simple scrum planned. The fleets close in to each other...

The fleets close in on each other. At this point you may notice little white beads on the starboard bows of the center Spanish galleys and a black bead on the port stern of the Turkish galley. Let me CCC, you will want to denote a few situations/status of ships: who has fired heavy guns, which ships have suffered crew casualties (halving your boarding factor) and which ships have suffered damage (halving both boarding and gunnery factors). To keep bookkeeping to a minimum, I have small pegs inserted onto 3 of the 4 corners of the ship base. I place a small plastic Perler bead on these pegs to show status. The white pegs show the Spanish galleys have fired their large guns and one of those salvoes damaged the Turkish galley (black bead).

The fleets have come to grips with each other. The Turks closed in and were successful in boarding attempts on three of the four attempts (the light galleys on the far right came close but didn't make contact). The Spanish light galley on the far left has suffered damage when the Turks fired their heavy guns on contact.

Based on the prevalence of the yellow beads, you know something has happened! The yellow beads indicate crew casualties. If you notice the Spanish light galley has been replaced by a near sinking wreck. From what I recall, they were previously damaged and had crew casualties. They took a second crew casualty which turns to a damage but since they were already damaged, they became a wreck!

The beginning of the 2nd turn saw the end of the battle. Three compromised Turkish ships ganged up on the left Spanish galley, damaging it and inflicting crew casualties. On the right , the remaining Spanish light galley was captured when it was finally boarded by the Turkish light galley who then backed up and fired its heavy guns into the right Spanish galley. 

With both of their light galleys lost and the remaining galleys damaged along with crew casualties, I decided to call the battle and declare the Turks the winners. The Turkish fleet lost two bases on small boats but that's it... The game only lasted a turn and a half and went for about 30 or so minutes.

I'm sure I did some things wrong but I still had a blast. I will reread through the rules and run another play test. I highly recommend these for simple but nuanced renaissance galley combat.


Monday, September 6, 2021

Five Core Company Command Play Test

My good friend and fellow gamer messaged me today mentioning he was gaming some 40K with his son. Since it was a holiday, the message inspired me to break out my 10mm Falklands' forces for a quick playthrough of Five Core's Company Command rules. I hadn't read through the rules to acquaint myself before the game so I'd have to muddle through. Here are some quick snaps to give an idea of how the game went...

I grabbed a 24" square DBA game mat and placed quite a bit of terrain on it. Smaller than ideal but it fir my table. I gave the British Paras (bottom of table) three platoons and some leaders. The Argentine defenders had a single entrenched platoon on a hill and a .50 caliber HMG detachment providing support on a smaller hill to their right.

I played the "fog of war" turn mechanism. At the beginning of the turn, roll a D6. A 1 provides a scurry turn, 2-5 a normal turn allowing each side to activate 3 bases, and a 6 sparks off a firefight. The first turn I rolled a one, allowing the British to advance 6" towards cover. 

The British were able to initiate a dash, which is a bonus move of D6 to get to an intended location. This allowed the British to really close the distance before the Argentines could unload.

The next turn saw a roll of a two, and the Argentine forces disposed of their hidden status and opened up with two infantry sections and the HMG detachment. The .50 caliber drove back one Para section while an Argentine infantry section was able to induce panic in a British section which then bolted for cover.

The British portion of the turn saw their left flank close assault the Argentine HMG, knocking it out of action. I incorrectly moved the rest of the British bases allowing them to close the distance with the remaining entrenched Argentines. The British assaulted some of the Argentine trenches but were repulsed.

The following turn I rolled a six, which set off a firefight. The British enfiladed the outflanked Argentine section and silenced it (blue star). The Argentine defenders exacted their revenge but eliminating two Para sections (red stars). 

The following two turns saw the British paras mass fire on the remaining Argentine sections which were ultimately silenced.

I definitely did some things wrong. I need to go through the rules and see what I did right, what I did wrong and digest the mechanics a bit. I'm a little uncertain about shooting. You need line of sight, if you are firing over an obstacle you only use shock dice ( I image this would apply if you are on higher ground and there is some rough terrain between you and your target that doesn't block line of sight). If your target is in the clear and wide open, you add an extra kill die to your shooting roll (fairly obvious). The thing that confuses me is what exactly constitutes "normal" unmodified shooting. Is it when your opponent is in terrain but not hiding? When they are behind terrain and the full base isn't in the clear but you have LOS? I think the Falklands pose a challenge because so much of the battlefield will be "in the clear"....maybe need to add some high grass and gorse terrain to my tabletop...

After I read through again, I will try it out with a bigger mat and/or some more open ground to make the British advance a but more dangerous.  I really enjoyed it, about 4-5 turns and roughly 30 minutes gave me a decisive conclusion. 


Friday, June 25, 2021

Blitz Bowl Dwarves

 Here's something a little different...

I am normally a historical wargaming enthusiast but do venture into sci-fi and fantasy. My early gaming was mostly GW products in the early 90s. I always liked the idea of Blood Bowl but not enough to commit to the game, the teams were too big and the games were a little too involved for my taste.

Enter Blitz Bowl, which I just recently learned is a bite size, quickplay variant of the game with much different concepts and mechanics. I went over to a local Barnes and Noble and picked up the box set then proceeded to order some additional teams online, thru my FLGS and some extras (decals, a troll, etc) via eBay.

The first team I tackled were the Dwarfs. I originally intended to use the teams as a way to practice my use of contrast paints. The plan was to paint them quick at wargamer standard and get them ready to play. I decided on a grey, green and gold color scheme (accented with red gems) and tried out the $100 worth of contrast paints I purchased. I decided I didn't like them for this project. 

Instead, I opted for a basic paint job spruced up with inks and washes and the very rare highlight. I added uniform numbers from some 2nd hand decals purchased off of eBay (Blitz Bowl teams don't come with decals).

Here's the Troll Slayer. It was my first miniature I painted for the team. Very basic stuff. I used GW Astro-Granite for the base effects. I also added tiny magnets to the bases and the footballs to aid in gameplay.

The entire 6 player team. Took me a little less than a week to paint and most of that was trying to figure out the approach to painting them. Next up are Humans and after that there are Chaos, Halflings, Skaven, Undead and did I mention Goblins with a troll.....

Friday, June 11, 2021

10mm British Paras for Falklands

Just completed my first British Para platoon. Each base is a section and the platoon will have some attachments (additional LMGs, snipers, etc) and the company of three platoons will have some heavy weapon support (MILAN teams, HMGs, etc). The figures are Pendraken and are based for Nordic Weasel's FiveCore Company Command

Here is the platoon in front of a Time Cast rocky outcrop. I flocked the scenery and game mat to match the yellowish static grass. The tint in some of these pictures is a bit more green than the actuality.

Closeup of a base that has an officer directing his section. The British Paras presented a unique challenge because I needed to paint British DPM on a 10mm scale. I would have been lost without the guidance of Dougie's Wargaming Blog, Doug has a great tutorial on how to paint and base these same figures and he has alot of knowledge of the Falklands conflict.

A different base with an LMG team (guys in berets).

The full platoon again.

Rearview of a section. You can get a better look at the DPM camo. Overall I am happy with how these guys turned out. I still have two more platoons to paint as well as some attachments and support weapons. Look forward to getting everything done and all the gaming table!


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Protestant Union Army

I started my 10mm TYW project sometime last year in the late spring or early summer. I had purchased the initial figures for it during Cold Wars 2020, the final HMGS convention before the pandemic shut everything down. Over the course of the pandemic, this was my chief project. It is fitting that I finally completed both armies as things begin to open up again. I am proud that I stuck through and finished both armies for Fleurus. The Protestant cavalry was a real grind to get through. 

The full army: 6 infantry brigades, 11 cavalry brigades, 2 artillery batteries and 3 commanders.

Group shot of the 6 infantry brigades. Mansfeld, commander of the Protestant army, supposedly had brigades of infantry named after colors (red, blue, green, yellow). Even though this was a reference to flags, I decided to paint the brigades in corresponding uniform colors.

"Yellow" brigade.

One of three "Blue" brigades, in this instance it is Mansfeld's foot guards bearing one of his known flags.

"Red" brigade in a brick red tone.

"Green" brigade.

All eleven cavalry brigades, these fellas were a real grind to finish. I really got fatigued painting cavalry midway through. The Protestant cavalry didn't really perform well in the battle. There are accounts of them being fine German cuiiassiers and also of being mutinous rabble. I went with a mix of these two.

Some fine German cuirassiers in an orange color, I painted this unit to be Christian the Younger's personal brigade.

Another brigade of cuirassiers, this time Von Streiff's personal unit showing off his livery and the black bird emblem.

Some of the less well equipped horse, maybe these are mutinous rabble...

Perhaps more rabble. These are a mix of Old Glory and Pendraken.


The Protestant commanders (L-R): Von Streiff, Mansfeld, Christian the Younger of Brunswick

Last but not least, the Imperial baggage train. During the battle, the baggage played a role slowing down the Protestant cavalry attack. Here they are...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Fenian Project v2.0

It was back in 1992, when I was flipping through Issue 15 of Command Magazine that I was first inspired to wargame the Fenian Invasion of 1866 and specifically The Battle of Ridgeway. There was an excellent article on the obscure conflict (and if you look at so many of the projects on this blog, you understand I love obscure conflicts). It had color photos of reenactors, color maps and a solid writeup. I was in high school at the time and the options for figures were a bit more limited in those days. The Fenians are fairly straightforward since they were primarily kitted out in ACW surplus and/or civilian garb. The Canadian militia was a bit trickier with the tunics, trousers, shakos and porkpie caps. 

(Queens Own Rifles)

(13th Battalion Hamilton Militia)

In the meantime, I purchased several other publications on the little-known invasion. Probably the best of the lot being Peter Vronsky's book on the subject. I even purchased a small portable boardgame in a tin in the battle (more on that later).

About 20 years later, I had tracked down relatively suitable figures for the Canadians in 15mm and painted some up...I even posted it on this blog. It took some effort to track down suitable figures and order them from a small manufacturer in New Zealand but that project stalled like so many others...

(The magazine issue that started the project...)

Years later, Pendraken released a decent sized range of Canadian militia specifically for the 1866 Fenian invasion. 10mm is my favorite scale by far but I had already gone through great effort to collect armies in 15mm and I had so many other projects in my lead pile.

Fast forward to now. Recently Pendraken held their painting competition and, on a lark, I submitted a couple of entrants into the ring. My Falklands Argentines here took second place. Ironically enough, the Argentines were purchased in part from proceeds from me placing in the 2015 Pendraken Competition with these buggers. I was very surprised and humbled when I found out my Argentines took 2nd place in their category, netting me a £20 gift certificate. I decided to apply that to a Fenian purchase from Pendraken. I also purchased some Canadian cavalry and artillery for what-if scenarios and figures from the ACW range for the Fenians themselves. The figures were sorted but what of the rules?

Ridgeway was a small battle with no more than 1500-2000 total participants, the vast majority of the combat seems to have been conducted in loose skirmish order. There were no massed ranks or Pickett's Charges in this one and some of the antics give the impression of a very amateurish donnybrook rather than disciplined combat. Casualties were very low, the Canadians didn't bring extra ammunition and their commanding officer mistakenly gave the order to form square when he thought he saw Fenian cavalry on the edge of the battle. 

I decided I would probably come up with some kind of home-brew quickplay ruleset for this unique battle. The company would be the unit of maneuver (giving each side around 15-20 units) and a company would be a single base with 4-5 figures on it in loose order. 

Back to that aforementioned boardgame I previously had the rather catchy title "Army of Ireland" and it had some very simple rules that have a bit of flavor for the battle. I plan to borrow from these a good amount when I craft my own. 

At any rate, the figures are ordered, the brain is percolating ideas and I ordered another book on the subject to read when I ultimately embark on the project. As for the when...well, I want to tackle my high priority projects first this year but its possible we revisit this later in 2021. Hopefully its not another decade before I post on them again...

Friday, March 19, 2021

1/3000 Age of Sail - Form on the Admiral's Wake

I love the HMGS conventions, and one of the things I love most about them are Friday night age of sail wargaming with Brian DeWitt's "Form on the Admiral's Wake". Brian is an excellent convention GM, he gets what a convention game should be and he hosts multi-player games that are quickplay, fun and furious for all. His Admiral's Wake ruleset is one of my favorite and it inspired me to purchase hundreds of 1/3000 ships from Forged in Battle (FiB). Over the years I have only managed to paint portions of the French, Spanish and British fleets. Last week, I decided to take on the Dutch fleet at Camperdown (or Kamperduin for all of you Batavians reading this). I would speed paint the little buggers and try to take advantage of the drab Dutch paint schemes and GW's range of contrast paints. It was a success!

Here are the bulk of the Dutch. They are FiB's "small 3rd rate ships" coded NAP-24. Since the Dutch ships were a bit smaller, I wanted to represent them with a slightly smaller model.

Here is another angle of the same ships. The painting process involved prepping the ships (no assembly required), gluing them to bases and priming them Tamiya light grey. The hulls got a wash of GW contrast paint, rigging and masts painted dark grey and the sails where painted Reaper Polished Bone and then stained with a diluted wash of Skeleton Horde contrast. I then followed up with a drybrush of Polished Bone. Some hull details (gunwale stripes and stern windows) and ensigns/pennants were painted, finished up with the blue water on the bases.

Here are the four 74 gun "big boys" for the Dutch. The flagship Vrijheid is on the far right with a slightly different main mast pennant. You'll notice some hull color variation and this was because I used Cygor Brown at first but opted for Snakebite Leather for the remainder.  I also diluted some of the contrast paint with GW contrast medium. I like the variation in hull color and I read references that some ships were darker than others because of age and tar usage.

You may be wondering where the frigates are. If so, you are an observant and keen little admiral! I painted them but didn't upload any photos of them. Overall I am very pleased with the Contrast paints for these ships. They aren't as detail painted as my initial batches but they are good enough and they are done. I will be using contrast paints for the rest of my 1/3000 ships. I plan to use some reds and yellows for my French and Spanish ships. Stay tuned!


1/2400 Renaissance Galleys

Continuing on with my barrage of photos of miniatures I painted previously, I decided to post some snaps of my 1/2400 renaissance galleys from Tumbling Dice miniatures. I picked these miniatures up because I am a fan of quickplay rules, a fan of naval wargaming and a fan of David Manley publications.

David has a set of quickplay renaissance naval rules called "Cannon, Cross and Crescent", I purchased them and really like the mechanics. It motivated me to pick up some fleets from Tumbling Dice and I managed to paint up a portion of my Muslim fleet.

Here are some "large galleys". These buggers come in several pieces: hull with masts, sails and bases with the oars sculpted into them. They sound fidly but they aren't that difficult to assemble. I decided my Muslim galleys will be mostly green.

Here's an aerial view showing all of those lovely galley slaves rowing to their hearts' content.

We have an overhead shot of the single-masted "small galleys", I made these guys a little more diverse in their coloring. 

Right now, you are probably wondering how small the "small galley" is compared to the "large galley", well here you go: small galley, small boats and large galley. Funny story about the pennants on the large galley, I picked them up from Tumbling Dice and had a helluva time gluing them to the ships and thought the paper was very thick and difficult to work with. I realized some time later that these are adhesive backed flags on a backing paper. Yikes! Very nice flags and I highly recommend!

Now you are probably wondering what the hell those small boats do. In the rules, they essentially feed crew to the galleys for boarding purposes. Here is another picture of them. 

The last picture here is of a large galley next to a wrecked and sinking galley. While the floating galleys are from Tumbling Dice, I picked up a bunch of galley wreckage from Hallmark's 1/2400 range. Cool right?!

I hope to finish this little project off sometime in 2021. Fingers crossed!