Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bolt Action WW2 Wargame Live Stream - Sunday, September 24th

Don't live in Fremont, California?  What to game with us?  Wondering what kind of nonsense happens during our game days?  No problem - come and join us online!

One of our crew is about to become a father (very likely this week ... heck, it could be this evening) - Mr. Dan Kerrick.  We are all rooting for a fast and easy delivery for his poor wife (she has to put up with him more than we do - lol) - poor Dan will miss this Sundays WW2 game that I am hosting.

Dan suggested that a live stream would be interesting and useful for him since he'd be stuck at home with a new born baby.  After all the laughter died down I realized he was serious!  So, what the heck ... at least one person will watch?  Maybe?

Now, I do have excellent equipment for live streaming --- full 1080p HD widescreen webcam at 30fps over USB 3.0 and a Yeti microphone for excellent sound pickup.  For better or worse I'm going to do it this Sunday via YouTube.

If you are absolutely bored or trying to fall asleep, tune in at 11am Pacific time on Sunday, September 24th and I'll be live streaming our WW2 Bolt Action game via YouTube (specifically I'll use my YouTube channel GameTime).

You can access the Live Stream here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi4M2ezf8nbLB77dT9uh9mQ/live

Note that while comments will be enabled, I'll be playing the game and only periodically checking on the comments.

If you plan on checking it out - leave a comment - I'm curious to see if it is just Dan or if anyone else joins to watch.

Labeling Bases (Templates)

I still have another French light infantry and another line infantry to base but my new Napoleonic units are at least on bases now.  I have to replace standard poles, get flags on and finish the bases, but steady progress this week.

New Napoleonic units to add to my collection.

I figured I would share a good resource in this post since I'm in the process of basing my new Napoleonic units.  I label almost everything I have.  I use "Avery" labels of different sizes depending on what I am labeling ...

One of my Napoleonic French units - given the density
of some of the bases and in some cases the specific
organization (e.g. Grenadiers on the right), the order
in which the unit forms line matters (for fit and function).
I not only label the unit so I know which bases all go
together, but also I use small squares to indicate which
place the base goes in when this unit is in line.

Some of my modern figures with labels telling me
which team they belong to and their armaments.

Much of the time the labels are just basic but sometimes I get specific national icons and include those as well - just to be a little fancier.  Below is an example of the Napoleonic icons I use ...

I've found that you can achieve all your labeling needs with essentially three products:

  • Avery Labels 5408 - 20mm round
  • Avery Labels 5278 - 40mm round
  • Avery Labels 22805 - 40mm by 40mm square

In order to speed you on your way and save you some effort, I've posted my templates up for all to download:
It's always a good time to get organized - enjoy!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Napoleonic Scenario: Waterloo, 1815

Here is another scenario I'm working on for Napoleonic's.  I'm really happy with the Aspern-Essling scenario and plan to run that at DundraCon in February (will be play testing it before the end of the year - targeting November).

When I looked forward to KublaCon I was thinking about Waterloo.  Now, to date I've always considered anything related to Waterloo in 28mm to be a small section of the battle.  For example, a single game focused on the fighting at Hougoumont.  However, I got to thinking as I reviewed the size of our Napoleonic armies.

My first thought was there is no way I can fit the major landmarks (Chateau Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte, and Papelotte) on a reasonably sized table ... but why don't I work it out for the heck of it?  So I did using the Hovel's buildings (I already have La Haye Sainte and La Belle Alliance from Hovel's all done and painted).  So I opened up PowerPoint and created a map.  Version 1 of the map didn't work out but version 2 (as you'll see below) entered the realm of possibilities.

I used the building measurements to size the areas for each landmark on the map to see if it would fit in the table size I settled on - which they did!  Humm, well I certainly don't have enough troops?  Or do I?  Short answer - I do.  After going through everything it really came down to the following gaps:

Dutch-Belgians - Roy Scaife as agreed to get this formation completed (using Perry Miniatures).
French Guard Cavalry - I've purchased the French guard cavalry from Perry miniatures and will get it done as well.

With that, we have the entire OOB that is outlined in this scenario.  I will be using the talented David S. for the fur mats - of which this table needs 6 x four by 6 foot mats with the additional 2 foot by 6 foot mat - that is a heck of a lot of fur!  Interesting enough it all fell into place. 

As such I present to you the "grand" scenario for the entire battle of Waterloo that we will be running at KublaCon in May (and play testing before - likely after DundraCon).

Map and Deployment Areas

The first map below shows the general layout of the table.  The main part of the table is 18 feet by 8 feet.  The 8 foot side near Hougoumont has an additional 2 foot by 6 foot section added for additional space and approach to the Chateau Hougoumont.  The second map displays the deployment areas for each of the corps formations.  See the order of battle section for details on which units comprise each corps.

Basic map layout - the table is 18 feet by 8 feet,
with an additional 2 foot by 6 foot section
added on the end near Hougoumont.

Map with deployment areas for each corps.

Orders of Battle

Below are the orders of battle for the French, Anglo-Allied, and Prussian armies present at the battle.  As the armies present are very large I had to compress the organizations down into reasonable amounts of units and sub-divisions.  While the corps used align with the historical OOB, the individual divisions do not align perfectly to the actual number of divisions in each corps.  Regardless, the units and formations present are normalized, equalized and representative of the units in each of the corps.

Order of Battle: French

Order of Battle: Anglo-Allied

Order of Battle:  Prussians

Game Length and Other Rules

I expect this game to be settled in 10-12 game turns.  I'll have to refine it as we get to play test it.  However, my current thinking is 10 turns with a roll for turns 11 and 12 (which would allow the Prussians more time to ruin a French victory).

I'm adding a new section of rules for "fighting in built up areas" (FIBUA).  I'm not done these rules yet -- I'm in the process of writing them up and will be play testing them soon as I'll need them for the Aspern-Essling scenario as well.  In general the idea is to streamline the process of engaging units (formed or skirmishers) in built up areas.  Short version is you feed all the bases from the unit "into" the built up area and each base generates a certain number of dice in melee.  Large structures/areas are divided up into sections.

Prussians will enter the game on the designated table edge (see map).  Starting on turn 5 the Anglo-Allied general will roll a D6.  On a 4+ the Prussians begin to arrive using reserve rolls (more on this below).  If they fail to arrive, add +1 to the dice result on turn 6, +2 on turn 7 and so on until they arrive.

On the turn the Prussians arrive, the Prussian player can select a single division from the Prussian corps to march onto the table (from the designated table edge) - Blucher enters at this time.  Charges cannot be declared by units moving onto the table.  For each other division in the Prussian corps roll 1D6 (adding the same modifiers to the dice result as was applied to the arrival dice, e.g. +1 on turn 6, +2 on turn 7, and so on).  On a D6 result of 4+ the division arrives.  Each turn a single division that has not arrived will arrive and march onto the table automatically.  Additional divisions will continue to roll adding the appropriate turn related modifiers - do this until all Prussian divisions have arrived and marched onto the table.

Victory Points

Apply victory points as follows:
  • +3 VPs for each broken infantry or cavalry unit.
  • +2 VPs for each shaken infantry or cavalry unit at games end.
  • +2 VPs for each broken artillery or skirmisher unit.
  • +1 VP for each shaken artillery or skirmisher unit at games end.
  • +20 VPs for control of Hougoumont.
  • +10 VPs for control of La Haye Sainte.
  • +10 VPs for control of Papelotte.

No points are awarded for La Belle Alliance (it is just for show).  To control a landmark on the table, more than 1/2 of the areas zones must be in your control.  A picture below shows the key landmarks of the battle.  I divide La Haye Sainte into 4 equal parts, Papelotte into 3 parts (one is the walled open area, then I split the main farm area in half), and Hougoumont is divided into 6 different parts (essentially divide each open area into two parts).

Key landmarks of the battle.


I believe this game will take us the better part of a day to complete but it should be an epic fight worthy of remembrance!  I'll update this scenario post as needed based on the results of the play test.  So, there you have it ... I've probably lost my mind a bit here ... but I'm committed to delivering this game at KublaCon in May.

Monday, September 11, 2017

General Update - Pirates, Napoleonics, Mini Convention and More!

Hello all,

Apologies once again --- this summer has been full of family trips/visits, work and general craziness as I cleaned out several spots and reorganized my lead pile (long overdue).  My work trips have been the most disruptive --- but the good news is that as of right now I don't have a single trip I have to do in the foreseeable future - horay!

That being said, progress has been made on several fronts.

Blood and Plunder

First and foremost is Blood and Plunder - still VERY excited to get this on the tabletop.  To be honest I was struggling with the best way to do the "water" table sections.  I think I've finally decided on how to do it ... for better or worse.  I watched what feels like 5,000 videos on YouTube of people pouring water tables and features in different ways ...

I'm going to build 3 sections, each 2' x 4' (to give me a 4' x 6' table).  All three sections will be poured water using the same lacquer that is used for bar tops.  I plan to pour about 1/2 inch thick on each section.  I believe this will be the most durable way to accomplish this.  I'm also building a 4th 2' x 3' section which will be coastal with enough area for a landing and resulting land battle (buildings, forts, whatever).

In other good news --- Artmaster Studio is full at it painting up the entire miniature range that is available today (all four factions with additional characters).  Hoping to have all those miniatures back and ready for gaming at the end of September or so depending on shipping.

Napoleonic (Empires At War)

I've completed a minor update to the rules:  Empires At War v2.5

A few changes to make things "better" ...

  • I combined the "Charge Home Test" with the Charge order so that you don't have to take two tests and resolve it as part of issuing the Charge order.
  • I fixed several issues with the "Terrain Table" and made some clarifications.
  • I updated shooting saving throws.  Basic saving throw for shooting is now 5+ - or 4+ if in cover.  Units in fortifications can reroll failed saves.
  • I made minor adjustments to the shooting dice modifiers - primarily large units get +3D6 (adjusted for melee as well).
  • Base number of shooting dice and melee dice for several formations have been updated.
  • Updated "Cavalry Charging Infantry" - essentially now the cavalry can choose to simply threaten the infantry to force it to form square.
  • I made some minor updates to the unit special rules - I still have more work I would like to do here but these are working for now.

I also have a PDF for army lists that I'm just about finished with - covers British, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Austrians, Bavarians, Prussians and Russians.

Another large chunk of miniatures that are staring at me mockingly - lots of French Napoleonic infantry that I need to base - as well as new Austrian infantry units.  I'll be focused on and getting these guys based as I start to work toward bringing my Apsern-Essling scenario to life on the tabletop.  I addition to sorting out my Austrians and increasing the line infantry unit size to 48 figures, I've also increased my French infantry unit sizes to 36 figures.  All that really matters for the rules we play (Empires At War) is the number of bases used for a unit.  The real reason for increasing the unit size is the visual look and feel I've achieved with my ACW wargames --- and tried but just couldn't let go of the desire to see the same "dense" formations for my Napoleonic collection.

"Oh, why are we not based?"

New Austrian unit size > 48 figures

I've ordered more flags for my French and Austrians from GMB ... can get those on and wrap up the units when those arrive.

Finally sorting out my Austrians - 2 unit down,
about 10 more to go!

As I mentioned in my previous post - I have the talented David Skibicki working on my fur mats for Aspern-Essling.  The image below shows a little bit more ... for example what I want the farmed fields to look like.  I also added two additional items to the key.

Obviously for this scenario it would not be complete without a 28mm Essling Granary building.  Problem is that while there are plenty of models for this building in 20mm, 15mm, 10mm, and 6mm there are none I could find in 28mm.  Not a big deal as the building is large.  As a result I'm going to have to scratch build my own granary and reduce the size a little so it is more "playable" in the area I have available on the tabletop.

An excellent 20mm (1/72) kit for the granary ... if only
if came in 28mm!

I really like what these chaps have done - the town
isn't overwhelming in size and contains just enough
buildings to make it playable --- mind you this
is 15mm and not 28mm ... but nonetheless I'm
going to take a similar approach.

Mini Convention

(Edited - forgot to include the mini convention stuff in original posting).

On the long weekend in September the boys (Roy Scaife, Dan Kerrick, Adrian Turner, John Lantz, Matt Hilzendrager and myself) all got together for CabinCon - essentially we all rented a cabin down near Santa Cruz and games from Friday > Sunday.  We played a little Blood Bowl, and lot of SAGA, and board games.  I didn't take a ton of pictures ... just a few here and there with my phone.  Pics below.

John's Dwarves battling it out with my Chaos Dwarves.

Matt's Vikings taking on Adrian's Steppe Tribes.

Saturday morning - kicking off a day of SAGA.

Colosseum - I forgot how much fun this game is!

The weekend was a lot of fun in a very low pressure environment --- nobody bugging us to clean up/get off the table ... no scheduling nonsense ... just like-minded friends gaming all weekend.

ACW - This Hallowed Ground

I've also updated the ACW rules to v2.4:  This Hallowed Ground v2.4

These changes just reflect the updates I made to the Napoleonic rules.

My next ACW scenario to get on the tabletop is Casey's Redoubt which is a part of Seven Pines.  I had already posted the scenario for this ... map below for reference.  I have all the siege guns and crews now ... and they are included in a final group of figures I'm sending over to Steve Dake to get painted.  This last batch of ACW includes more casualties, camp sets, wagon crews (horses and riders), and the gun crews.

Seven Pines - Casey's Redoubt

Once David finishes with my Aspern-Essling fur mats I'll be sending this along to get done.  I do need to scratch build the two buildings for this table as well ... but otherwise I have everything I need to run this scenario.

I'll stop there for now ... there are always little things happening here and there ... I'm planning a game for later this month ... September 23rd or 24th ... either WW2 Bolt Action or modern Bolt Action ... still deciding.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Napoleonic Scenario: Battle of Aspern-Essling, May 21-22, 1809

The battle of Aspern-Essling to me is a classic French/Austrian Napoleonic engagement.  Playing this battle in 28mm is a very challenging feat given the size of the forces involved.  When I looked at this scenario I considered pairing it down to just the fighting around Aspern - focusing on Massena and Hiller - but I decided to inside try to encapsulate the majority of the engagement.

This of course meant I had to compress the battlefield and forces into something that would be abstractly representative of the force composition while still providing a fun and balanced game.

The scenario map is below along with a terrain key.  I'm using three fur mats to build out this table - the "top" part of the map is two 4 by 6 foot mats and the "bottom" is a single 4 by 4 foot mat.  For the pontoon bridges I using the excellent Perry Miniatures sets (FN182, FN183, and FN184).  I wanted to include the river and bridges for extra visual possibility - and to add some variation into the scenario.

Scenario Map

I've included the map below that shows the deployment areas for each formation.

Austrian Order of Battle

C-in-C Charles

I Korps - Bellegarde
  • 3 x Line Infantry (Large)
  • 1 x Jager Companies
  • 1 x Foot Artillery Battery (Large + Howitzer)

II Korps - Hohenzollern
  • 3 x Line Infantry (Large)
  • 1 x Jager Companies
  • 1 x Foot Artillery Battery (Howitzer)

IV Korps - Rosenburg
  • 1 x Grenz Infantry
  • 1 x Landwehr Infantry
  • 1 x Jager Companies
  • 1 x Horse Artillery (Howitzer)
  • 1 x Uhlans (Large)
  • 1 x Hussars (Large)

VI Korps - Hiller
  • 3 x Line Infantry (Large)
  • 1 x Jager Companies
  • 1 x Foot Artillery Battery (Large + Howitzer)

Reserve Korps - Liechtenstein
  • 2 x Cuirassier (Large)
  • 2 x Dragoon (Large)
  • 1 x Horse Artillery (Howitzer)

French Order of Battle

C-in-C Napoleon

IV Corps - Massena
  • 3 x Light Infantry (Elite)
  • 4 x Line Infantry (Elite)
  • 1 x Foot Artillery (Howitzer)

II Corps - Lannes
  • 3 x Light Infantry
  • 4 x Line Infantry
  • 1 x Foot Artillery (Howitzer)

Cavalry Corps - Bessieres
  • 4 x Cuirassiers
  • 1 x Horse Artillery (Howitzer)

Light Cavalry Division - LaSalle
  • 1 x Hussar
  • 1 x Lancer

Position Battery (Redoubt)
  • 1 x Foot Artillery (Howitzer) (Independent Unit)

While I use the term "corps" above --- those formations will really act as brigades within the rules system - just one of the necessities when compressing a large battle down into something playable and achievable in 28mm.

There you have it ... the start of what I think will be a very fun and visually pleasing game.  I have essentially everything I need to do the scenario.  I've contracted the excellent David Skibicki to do the fur mats for me.  I'm likely going to have my 3D guy do a 28mm model for the famous granary in Aspern.  I have some minor stuff I need to do with my Austrian army (some basing and adjusting of some units).