Saturday, November 25, 2023

Where it all began...

I was walking my dogs at a local park this morning. It's a very nice park, one that both my dogs and I like very much. For whatever reason, my mind always goes to the hobby when I am there. 

This morning, I was thinking about the beginnings of my love for wargaming and toy soldiers. It all began when I was about 4 or 5 when I saw some very small painted soldiers being sold at a local flea market. This was the early 80s and my memory tells me they were someplace between 6mm and 10mm. They were horse and musket era infantry in shakos, red tunics and sky blue trousers. Someone's effort at Napoleonic British? Perhaps 19th century Danes? Who knows but I loved them. 


(These aren't Brunswickers but you get the idea)

The next purchase I remember was a pack of Minifigs 15mm Brunswick infantry. These would be my first foray into painting toy soldiers. I found a uniform book (probably from the local library) and did my best effort to paint them in their black and sky blue uniforms. I used Testor's gloss paints and I can only imagine how sloppy and shiny they turned out. As a boy of 6 or so, I was fairly proud of my efforts. 

I spent a good amount of my childhood summers at my father's house and the local library had an excellent collection of military history and wargaming books. The one that I cherished above all else was Paul Hague's Sea Battles in Miniature. I read every word and poured over every picture hundreds of times. 

During those Summer days, I made my own ancient galleys out of balsa and card and even attempted to use the guide in the book to assemble an Italian Duilio-class ironclad out of balsa. 

Many years later I purchased my own copy of Sea Battles in Miniature and it remains a hobby inspiration to this day. 

It was in high school that I was introduced to formalized wargaming with proper rules. My friends stumbled into Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4th edition. I purchased a discounted box set from the Walden Bookstore at my local mall. I swapped the elves in my set with a friend to get his goblins. My painting was crude, slapping on black, olive green, red and yellow to those simple plastic miniatures. 

Over the years we would have many epic and massive battles in the Warhammer world...we even branched out into 40k and other GW sets. My best friend Rob is still painting and collecting GW stuff, however my collection these days is limited to vintage green skins, Man o' War and some unpainted box sets.

It was in college that I returned back to my historical roots and never really turned back. Projects were started from 6mm to 28mm from biblical to 20th century. I tried, and failed, to make sense of DBA and DBR.

It has been over 4 decades since I first laid eyes on those tiny red and blue clad tin soldiers and I still love the hobby very much. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Ace of (re)Base

As I grind away on my 10mm Crimean War project, my mind goes to some possible re-basing projects. I have several collections that I think should be rebased: 15mm IDF/PLO, 10mm Dux Bellorum and 10mm Blucher

For all of these I'm thinking of going thinner (from 3mm to 1.5mm to be precise) and for two of the three, slightly bigger. I'd like to get my IDF/PLO collection based compatible to my Krapistan project since both are for AK-47. For Dux Bellorum and Blucher, I want thinner bases with a little more space for the miniatures and the addition of dice trays. 

I have plenty of figures to paint and it feels s but of a waste of time and resources to rebase but I think it would make me happy...I will keep you posted. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Fall In 2023

I managed to make it up to Lancaster and HMGS Fall In. I've been attending HMGS conventions for over two decades and it's always nice to return to the The Host (now known as Wyndham). 

This year, I refrained from purchasing too much although I made a significant "donation" in the form of raffle tickets although I didn't manage to win anything (probably all for the better since I have enough hobby clutter). 

I didnt see much in Wally's flea market that piqued my interest, I feel like it's always the same group of fellas who are selling the same stuff I've seen year after year. Rarely do I find something that strikes my eye, although I admit my hobby interests are a bit "niche".

Managed to play in a game of To The Strongest, and every time I play I'm reminded why I enjoy that ruleset so much. I really need to paint up my Macedonian, Indian and Persian armies this coming year. 

Also managed to get in a game of Frostgrave  with my longtime friend and gaming buddy Rob. The brilliant scenery is all Rob's and it really evokes the feeling of a cold, barren abandoned city. , my necromancer (who doesn't have a name yet) and his yellow-clad cultist minions managed some success in this scenario. Here are a few photos of that game:

Krapistan: Battle of Mirhadan

I had the opportunity to fight the first battle of the Krapistan project, the battle of Mirhadan. In the south of Kaput province, sit the twin villages of Mirhadan. Al Kebab felt the time was right to launch their offensive against these villages in an effort to establish a proper base of operations. The Nawab of Kaput was well informed of these plans and brought several of his clans and a detachment of Krapistani regulars to Mirhadan to thwart the fundamentalist assault. 

A view from the left side of the Nawab's position. In the center foreground is "Little Mirhadan" and in the upper right hand corner is "Big Mirhadan". In the center is a palm grove. 

"Little" Mirhadan sitting on the left flank of the Nawab's position. The Nawab placed clan fighters of his henchman Babak (8 infantry bases and 2 RPG bases) to defend this position. The Nawab decided to place himself with Babak's men  (which probably was a bad idea).

Uncertain of al Kebab's intentions, the Nawab placed his best and most mobile units (his personal armor and a detachment of Krapistani regulars in BTRs) in the center where they can provide support to either village of Mirhadan or the palm grove.  

The two aforementioned Krapistani army BTR-60s with lots of souvenirs strapped to the vehicles to bring back after their tour of duty in Kaput The Nawab placed his lieutenant Abdul and his clan fighters (8 militia infantry with an RPG team and a mortar with two trucks) in front of  "Big Mirhadan". 

Like the rest of the Nawab's army (with the exception of the Krapistani regulars), Abdul's clan fighters are rated as militia in AK-47 Republic. Abu Kebab's fundamentalist host is a bit more devoted to the cause and are comprised of hardened militia and clan militia.

Al Kebab's fundamentalist fighters approaching the Nawab's positions. To the left are the elite black-clad Bashi-Bazooka Brigade with the Martyr-Cycles and the Samaka Brigade in the center. To the right is the Hamal Brigade. The Samaka and Hamal Brigades were armed to the teeth with AKs, RPGs, HMGs, mortars and were supported by BMP IFVs.

The Nawab wasn't sure if Abu Kebab wanted either of the villages, the palm grove (which has succulent dates), the Nawab's head or all of the above!

The Bashi-Bazookas prior to mounting up in their Toyotas for their drive on Little Mirhadan. 

Close up of the Martyr-Cycles advancing on Little Mirhadan with the Bashi-Bazookas following in the background in  their Toyotas. AK-47 Republic doesn't have rules for motorcycles so I just basically made them infantry with wheeled vehicle movement and charged them army points as if they were in trucks.

Al Kebab's Hamal Brigade suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Clan Abdul  on the right flank. Despite heavy losses, the Hamal Brigade routed Clan Abdul, leaving the road to Big Mirhadan unopposed. In a desperate move, the Nawab ordered the Krapistani regulars to stop the Hamal Brigade. This was a mistake as it pulled his most competent unit further away from the crucial fight on the left flank

Al Kebab received timely reinforcements when the Farkha Brigade arrived. It became apparent to the Nawab that Al Kebab wanted to take Little Mirhadan. The Bashi-Bazookas, Martyr-Cycles and Farkha Brigades violently assaulted the village and after desperate house to house fighting, it appeared Little Mirhadan would fall. The Nawab chose to remain in the desperate hope that his friend Khan would arrive with his clan followers. 

View from the Al Kebab right as they launch their assault on the village. The fundamentalists may have lacked proper tanks but they had speed and firepower with multiple AA guns on technicals.

The Nawab's tanks, the pride of his warlord army, snuffed out a flanking attempt on Little Mirhadan by the Samaka Brigade and were attempting the relive the pressure of al Kebab's assault on the Nawab's left.

Meanwhile, on the right flank, the Krapistani regulars took time from picking dates in the palm grove to mop up the last remaining remnants of the Hamal Brigade.

With the Hamal Brigade in flames, the residents of  Big Mirhadan were safe from the repressive recipes of Al Kebab....for now.

Abu Kebab and his followers attempt their encirclement of the smaller village.

In the end, Clan Khan never arrived on the table to save the Warlord of Kaput province, as the Nawab fell with his men to the last as Al Kabab captured Little Mirhadan. Al Kebab was victorious having achieved two of their three goals (Little Mirhadan and the Nawab's head on a skewer). 

Abu Kebab secured his base of operations and destabilized the province. Rumor has it that the skewers of meat were slow-cooked on the smoldering ruins of the village buildings.  Meanwhile, back in the capital, the Krapistani government pulled the Nawab's eldest son from his harem and informed him that his father had fallen and it was now his time to become the new Nawab. Will Al Kebab continue their advance? Surely the (new) Nawab call for a counter-offensive and seek revenge? Only time (and my chaotic schedule) will tell...


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Krapistan and it's Al Kebab Problem

On the eve of HMGS Fall In, I am preparing for my first battle of Krapistan, my AK-47 Republic imagination. Let me introduce you to the primary principals of this fantasy land:

Krapistan: a poor, backwater country plagued by tribal factionalism. The corrupt central government is at the mercy of corrupt tribal warlords. 

Kaput: Our campaign follows one of the more volatile provinces of Krapistan, Kaput. The province of Kaput is run by it's not so friendly local Warlord, the Nawab. The Nawab of Kaput enjoys the backing of the national government. 

Al Kebab: a fundamentalist religious movement centered around the preferred ways of cooking various meats on skewers. Al Kebab does not tolerate blasphemous methods of grilling skewered proteins and veggies. The mysterious leader of Al Kebab goes by his not so original "nom de Guerrero", Abu Kebab Al Kebab. 

Everyone likes flags so they know who and what to rally behind. Symbols mean so much in the world and Krapistan is no different. For the flag of Krapistan, the reds represent the meats to be enjoyed, whereas the green represents the veggies and the brown represents something entirely different in the process. This flag means little to the Nawab of Kaput, or any other Warlord, but they fly the flag nonetheless to ensure that they receive the support of the central government.

Above you will find the flag of Al Kebab. For the followers of all Kebab, all of those who refuse to honor the time-old cooking traditions will be smited...for them these grilling blasphemies are a black and white issue, thus the colors of their flag. 

Rumor has it, as a young boy growing up in the dusty back alleys of Kaput, Abu Kebab was horrified by the improper seasoning and cooking methods of grilling meats and veggies. These traumas pushed him to form a movement and that movement now threatens the establishment. The Nawab of Kaput has vowed to snuff out Abu Kebab's growing insurrection and thus we have war once again in Krapistan. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

RavenFeast Vikings and Krapistani Fighters

With my Texas sojourn behind me, I can home to a mouse infestation in my home. Apparently they made probes and found my dogs dry food in the kitchen pantry. 

While I've been waging a full-time  war of no-quarter on the rodent hordes, I've managed to squeeze in some painting time. I finished up some Krapistani Warlord fighters and some vikings for Big Battle RavenFeast. 

So far I have 7 bases of rank and file Bondi, 4 bases of axe-wielding Hirdmen and two command bases. The center right base with the red banner has my attempt at a raven symbol for Harald Hardrada's "Land Waster" flag. Still need to paint up Tostig, some Saxon rebels (traitors?), berserkers, archers and Scottish mercenary spear. Looking forward to getting my armies done so I can wage war on a 4'x4' tabletop and provide the Ravens with some 10mm casualties to feast upon!

And now on to Krapistan...

Managed to finish up 19 bases of Krapistani Warlord fighters. 13 bases of AK, RPK and PKM armed fellas, 3 command stands (look for the inspiring chaps pointing fingers in random directions) and 3 RPG bases. When I first started this project, I opted to go two figures a base (as per the rules-recommended 3 figures) to make it a bit more manageable and decided to include 2 RPGs on each RPG base. It allows me to visually identify the RPG bases a bit easier than if it was just one gent with an RPG and another with a small arm. 

Since these guys represent fighters of a run of the mill Warlord, they have a mish-mash of drab colors: washed out greys, blues, off-whites and earthtones. The absence of black attire let's you know they aren't followers of al-Kebab. The figures are hodgepodge collection of Flytrap, Irregular, Flashpoint, Old Glory and Khurasan. As you can see that, once painted, they all mix well on the same bases. 

This batch of figures essentially completes my Krapistan project. I will probably add some bits and bobs: some ZSU anti-aircraft guns, perhaps some more mortars, BMPs, T-55s, trucks, (perhaps a BRDM?), etc. but the armies are pretty much finished and ready for gaming. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Lost Ranges...

Years ago, I stumbled across the old Mikes Models renaissance range that was ultimately purchased by Essex. At the time, Essex no longer made the miniatures and I read at the time that the molds were destroyed as they introduced their own figures to replace them (this turned out not to be true). Because of their scarcity, I joined groups, made purchases and conducted swaps with people across the globe to get enough figures to make my armies. Years later, Essex announced that they would make the figures available again.

I never needed to order from Essex because I had spent a small fortune collecting my figures second-hand. I painted some up many, many years ago and here are those photos:

Some French Huguenot millers looking rather spiffy in their white smocks...

A flamboyant landsknecht pike block.

Have gun, will travel...German mercenary reiters ready to caracole.

I planned to paint up armies to refight the French Wars of Religion. I never completed them, I think what did me in was the spaghetti lances of the gendarmes. I decided to replace them with hand-crafted lances and that became a pain. Perhaps one day I will revisit this project, until that day comes the lead will sit in a rather heavy and battered shoebox under my paint table.

After my last post in which I mentioned Josef Ochmann's 10mm Conquistador range, I started thinking about other ranges that I loved that also disappeared from the world. Wargames Foundry's 15mm War of the Roses and Burgundian range sculpted by the Perry Brothers was one of them. I  picked up off of Barter Town when I was planning to do an Italian renaissance project in 15mm and rather stupidly sold them off. MinisMyWay has a rather interesting video on the range here. I heard that these molds were also destroyed, but who knows if that is true. 

Ironically enough, I had planned to pair the 15mm Perry sculpts with another range that has since disappeared, Peter Pig's Italian Wars range. I still remember how beautiful the crossbowmen sculpts were as well as the soldiers behaving rudely pack (one fellow mooning his backside and another flipping the bird). Peter Pig sold the range to a company called Moon Beam who then sold them to Black Cat Bases who appears to have gone out of business. Poof, gone.

Cannon Fodder Miniatures out of Australia produced a beautiful 25mm Mexican American War range, I had plenty of those figures but sadly painted them off. Anyone remember Wild Geese Miniatures and their 10mm ranges? I always wanted to buy them but never did. I own a bunch of 15/18mm South American Wars of Liberation figures from Grenadier Production's Liberators range. These were beautiful figures sculpted by Mike Broadbent. As I recall, the owner of the range was in the music business and the miniature range was a labor of love. To go along with the miniatures there were some beautiful wargaming guides. There were plans to release figures and wargaming guides  for the Northern campaigns of Bolivar but sadly the range went defunct before that ever happened. Totentanz Miniatures was another company that came and went, they had some beautiful figures for the Carlist Wars in 18mm, I came close to ordering them but never did.

Some ranges disappear with the passing of the proprietor. I remember getting into wargaming the Greek Wars of Independence in 15mm when Spyros, the owner of Alphacast Miniatures passed away. His 15mm Balkans War and Greek Wars of Independence ranges disappeared. Luckily I was gifted some of his miniatures from a friend. My mind also goes to Cracker Line and Good Ground Miniatures owned and operated by Bill Moreno before his passing (a true loss to the wargaming community). 

With Magister Militum to close doors at the end of this month, one wonders what will happen to the various ranges in so many scales that they own. Perhaps some of these ranges will disappear as well...

Anyway, back to Obelisk's 10mm range...I believe Obelisk was owned by Ochmann the sculptor. Apparently he retired in 2014 and sold off the range to Badger Games but Badger didn't purchase the 10mm offerings of Obelisk. Another poof and gone.

As years pass, we get older and nostalgia becomes stronger; I imagine there will be more ranges that I will lament the absence of. In the interim, lets look at some pictures of those Obelisk 10mm figures and maybe I will dust off those Mikes Models renaissance figures one day....

Absolutely stunning sculpts, these fellows look like hard chargers...

It's hard for me to believe they were 10mm figures. So much character in the poses.

A little bit of missile weaponry to go along with all of the Spanish melee...

The Incans are mighty impressive too. The painter Anndrew Taylor did some amazing brushwork on the little buggers.

No idea how Andrew managed to paint squares that cleanly in 10mm on these Incan halberdiers. 

Some of the aforementioned Cannon Fodder sculpts, so much character in these figures.

A very unique looking Mexican officer with the brimmed hat and the pistol. I had these figures but unfortunately I sold all of them off.

One range I neglected to mention was Flytrap Production's 15mm Afghan range. I own a bunch of them but wish I had more. I think Flytrap is still around but these guys are no longer available.

Meso Americans for Irregular Wars

One of these days, I will have to go through my collection and photograph the miniatures that I have painted but haven't posted on my blog. As I was flipping through my phone, I saw some photos of my 15mm Aztecs that I painted up for Irregular Wars. 

Here we have some stands of suit-wearers and a command stand. Very vibrant colors. I used the old Wargames Foundry book by Ian Heath (Armies of the Aztecs and Inca I believe) as a guide for suit colors and shield designs.

Some yellow-clad Cuachic warriors.  Love the mohawks...I only played these guys a few times in games, I think the army was fairly effective but they needed to swarm mounted Conquistadors or catch them in bad terrain, otherwise the Spanish cavalry would carve them up. 

I can't remember who these guys are supposed to be (Otomi maybe?). Irregular Wars is really a brilliant set of rules. I have a few armies painted up (Aztecs, Eastern woodland Indians, early 17th century English adventurers, Spanish Conquistadors and Colonials, etc.). I have even more unpainted and I will really need to tackle these because the armies are fairly small (similar to DBA numbers) and Irregular Wars gives a real good game.

Some actively posed Warrior Priests. I should add that all of the figures are from the old Gladiator/Black Hat range sculpted by Josef Ochmann. I really like Ochmann's sculpting style. His range of Biblical armies are really beautiful as well. On a side note, Josef also sculpted a small 10mm Conquistador range for Obelisk Miniatures. There were some Conquistadors, Caribs, Incans and even Canari from what I can recall. Sadly they are yet another range that has slipped into the ether...

Allied Mixtec warriors with atl-atl dart launchers. Noticeably absent are the rank and file warriors. I know that I painted up a bunch but for whatever reason I didn't snap any photos of them. When I get back home, perhaps I will get some snaps in and post them.


Friday, September 15, 2023

A Hobby Purgatory of Sorts...

As I mentioned in a previous post, my employer decided it was a good time to send me down to Southeast Texas for the month of September. I didn't have much advance notice so I brought some wargaming rulesets, a few wargaming guides and my unpainted 10mm Crimean War lead. The plan was to read through some rules and prep the Crimean War figures (filing mold lines and trimming flash) so that I would have some semblance of hobby progress during my month long sojourn.

Since there will be no painting progress nor any wargaming eye candy photos of freshly painted miniatures, I decided to pull some photos from my phone camera and post what I was working on last.

Here we have some Magister Militum 10mm Crimean War Turks. My approach to painting these buggers was to prime them with GW Macragge Blue, ink and then drybrush with a lightened version of Macragge Blue before I painted the flesh, fez and other non-blue bitz. This photo was taken prior to me inking and basing them, which was done. I have plenty more Turks to paint up when I return.

Next up are some 10mm Viking Bondi, the sculpts are from Old Glory. These fellas were primed black, wetbrushed with a khaki color and then I proceeded to pick out various colors in assembly line fashion. Im' fairly pleased with them but they were a bit of a chore to paint, certainly more-so than most Old Glory strip figures. I should add that I am basing these for LittleWarsTV's RavenFeast big battle rules variant. I now have 10 stands of Bondi.

Finally, we have a very busy photo which was taken on my cluttered paint desk. In the foreground are some Old Glory 10mm Viking Hirdmen. There is a 3D printed damaged building behind them and then some of my Krapistan 15mm fighters and the aforementioned Viking Bondi.

My hope upon returning at the end of the month is to finish off the Krapistan project (which is to say get enough painted up for a proper game, I'm not sure if I ever truly "finish" projects. I always plan to add a few more units even if I never do). After that I'd like to continue tackling the RavenFeast project with the ultimate goal of painting up enough figures for the three scenarios of Fulford Gate, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. I'd also like to continue making progress with the Crimean War project.

Soon after arriving in Southeast Texas, I learned that Magister Militum is shutting down shop at the end of the month. Very sad news indeed. I have been ordering from them for many years and they have always provided tremendous service. I am a big fan of their 10mm sculpts (did I mention I love 10mm?), my WW1 armies, a good portion of my Dark Ages figures  and my Crimean War armies are all courtesy of Magister Militum.

In my downtime, when I'm not reading rules or prepping Crimean War figures, I have been slowly putting together my final order to Magister Militum. I will try to fill the gaps in various collections and I think I will order some Biblical armies so that I can field Middle Kingdom Egyptians, Hyksos, Libyans and Nubians. Hopefully, all of their new ranges find a good home so the miniatures aren't lost forever.


Friday, September 8, 2023

Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma Visits

At the end of August, I was notified by my employer that I'd be spending the month of September in McAllen, Texas. I didn't have much time to pack but I managed to bring some miniatures to prep for painting and some history/gaming books. 

If you follow this blog, you are aware that I have collected and painted the American and Mexican armies in 10mm for the battle of Palo Alto. The figures for these armies are exclusively from Bill Moreno's "So Far From God" range. The figures really are little gems and it's the only 10mm range for the Mexican American War (and a very comprehensive one at that).

I decided that I'd might make this work trip a bit more worthwhile and visit the battlefields of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma whenever I had a day off. As I researched my trip, my thoughts went back to Bill Moreno and his range of miniatures. I had known that earlier in the year he was dealing with an illness. Trying to learn how he was progressing, I was very saddened to learn of Bill's passing. I had also recently suffered the loss of someone very close to me; I decided that I would make the trip to Palo Alto in honor of Bill. I had only met him once but had communicated will him quite a bit via email every time I placed an order for miniatures (which was quite often). 

Okay, back to trip...after an uneventful drive across some incredibly flat lands between McAllen and Palo Alto, I arrived at the battlefield site. The visitor center was pretty small with a tiny gift shop and a few displays and exhibits.

Entrance to the National Park Service visitor center.

Uniforms of the opposing armies.

Some of the cannon balls and shot.

Small arms and swords.

A sample of the cordgrass that covers the battleground. The grass blades can be razor sharp.

An interesting discovery in the back of the Audio Visual room (where they play a 15 minute video covering the story behind the battles) was a display with some 15mm figures, a boardgame hex map of the battle and a copy of Buck Surdu's Santa Anna Rules! Buck's rules for the Mexican American War were the first set I picked up to game the war. I had previously started projects in 28mm and 15mm only to abandon them and settle on 10mm.
Buck Surdu's Santa Anna Rules in all of their glory!

Closeup of some of the 15mm figures, I couldn't make out the manufacturer...perhaps old Frontier, MiniFigs or Musket Miniatures?

More of the figures as well as some cavalry themed dioramas also in 15mm.

Closeup of the dioramas depicting what appear to be US dragoons, Mexican Line cavalry and some Rancheros.

I was really quite taken back by how inhospitable the lands were. Signs were in abundance warning visitors to stay on the pathways because of rattlesnakes, additionally the sharp blades of the cordgrass and prickly thorns of the shrubs were a danger as well.

On this September day, the sun was in full effect and the temperature was about 104. The battle was fought in May but I was also wearing breathable cotton and synthetics while the soldiers that marched into battle wore less forgiving attire.

I walked from the visitor center along the pathway to the Mexican lines and over to the partially covered overlook. As I walked the battlefield alone, my mind went to Bill and my departed wife. I hoped that both were there with me to see what I was seeing. As I thought of them, a cool breeze gave me some relief from the oppressive heat and I knew I was not alone which made me happy. I decided discretion was the better part of honor and opted not to walk to the further American lines. Instead I retreated back to air conditioning of the visitor's center where I purchased some souvenirs..

Before heading back to my hotel in McAllen, I decided to stop off at Resaca de la Palma which was about 5 miles south of Palo Alto. The National Park Service employee at Palo Alto forewarned me that there wasn't much left of the battlefield and there was no visitor center. When I arrived after a brief drive, I spent about 10 minutes there. I was impressed with the density of the chaparral that lined small bodies of water (which weren't really visible), after a few pictures I departed and returned to McAllen.

Dense chaparral located at the Resaca de la Palma battlefield site.

A cannon on display outside of the restrooms located at Resaca de la Palma.

I probably only spent a couple of hours at the two battlefield sites, I was glad I visited them. I'm not sure that I will ever be back here again and I have spent many hours collecting, painting and gaming with miniatures representing the two armies that fought on these lands almost 200 years ago. Walking those grounds filled my mind with gaming ideas to better represent the feel of the battle but it also filled my mind with thoughts of Bill and my wife.