Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Battle Report 1/20/2013 - SAGA

Still at my local game store (after playing Muskets and Tomahawks and a couple of board games) and with enough time to easily play a game of SAGA, we setup and got underway.  We played the scenario "challenge" where each Warlord starts the game in the middle of the table with the other units starting within M of their respective table edges.

The Anglo-Danes fielded:

1 x Warlord
4 x Hearthguard
4 x Hearthguard
8 x Warriors
8 x Warriors

The Vikings fielded:

1 x Warlord
4 x Hearthguard (Berserkers)
4 x Hearthguard
4 x Heardguard
8 x Warriors

We moved up our units but both sides ultimately focused SAGA dice allocation on melee abilities for the Warlords.  Each Warlord starts the game with 12 wounds so as to make them last as normally, without any willing friendlies around to jump in front of mortal blows, they would die very quickly.

Some epic combinations of abilities saw each side rolling lots of melee dice but the fatigue took it's toll with armour values and ultimately each Warlord lost a few wounds a round on average.  What really turned the tide was the Vikings got a unit of Warriors within range for their Warlord to take advantage of his Resiliency ability - and that was it - the Anglo-Danish Warlord was still without support and just couldn't sustain the hits.

Pictures below.

Table setup.

The warlords start their challenge.

Deployment of supporting unit.

Both Warloads slug it out in epic fashion - both sides
plugged lots of dice into SAGA abilities for melee.

The Vikings manage to get up
some "fodder" first, turning the tide.

It pays off - the Anglo-Danish Warlord
is killed - revenge from the last game!

Battle Report 1/20/2013 - Muskets and Tomahawks

I decided to pack up my stuff and head down to the local game store (Game Kastle in Fremont, CA) for a day of gaming.  First on the agenda was a game of Muskets and Tomahawks.  I figured I would put out my Fort William Henry model.  Not knowing exactly how many people were going to show up I put together a 12'x4' table, with the main "game" being about 450pts and occurring around a town that resided near the fort.  For the main fort action I decided to have a "regular slug feast" out in front of it ... that is, several units of regulars lined up in the open against each other ... expecting a total bloodbath.  We were not disappointed on that front.

For the one side, with the regulars, each side fielded 3 x (12) regulars and 1 x (12) Grenadiers that started about 20" away from each other.  The dice favored the British slightly (even though the French got the first regulars card and did some serious damage), with the French failing two key reaction tests on turn three.

For the main event, we had a mixed force of French Compagnie Franches de la Marine and Indians split into two groups.

The French forces:

Group 1:
12 x Compagnie Franches de la Marine
1 x Indian Leader
6 x Indians
6 x Indians

Group 2:

12 x Compagnie Franches de la Marine
1 x Indian Leader
6 x Indians
6 x Indians
6 x Indians

The two groups deployed in opposite corners to each other.

The British forces:

1 x Regular Officer
2 x Civilian Ladies
12 x Regulars
12 x Grenadiers
8 x Rangers
8 x Rangers
8 x Light Infantry

The British deployed on the corner "in between" the two French corners.  The British objective was to escort two ladies to the fort by exiting the road on the far side of the table (across the 4' span).  They started 8" in from the corner edge with Highlanders deployed on the road (officer in the middle with his ladies), rangers flanking the regulars, and light infantry scouting ahead.  The French needed to cut the road and prevent the British officer and ladies from reaching the fort.

The British regulars got bogged down on the road with the lead unit attempting to deploy into the small field by the road.  The Rangers and Light Infantry had several rounds of vicious hand-to-hand fighting over the singe large building in the town.  The French Compagnie Franches de la Marine and Indians did a great job of keeping the British occupied.  Both sides suffered massive casualties in the several rounds of melee (lots of tomahawk throwing --- with a couple of rounds in which both sides start inside the house).  A spectacular affair indeed.

In the end the 2nd group of French forces managed to get an Indian unit positioned by the corner of the 2nd largest house.  They ran out and engaged the officer and ladies in the open.  They started by throwing tomahawks - but two brave Highlanders jumped in front of the throws and paid dearly.  Then the Indians moved into melee --- fighting a couple of rounds before taking down the Officer and one of the ladies ... all that was left was to kill the last lady.  Her scalp was taken with the roll of some dice and that was the game.

Pictures below of the setup and in game progress.

Getting underway.

British deployment.

French Group 1 who fought a vicious melee for the large
house against the British Rangers and Light Infantry.

Regulars slugging it out in the open (side event for fun).

Compagnie Franches de la Marine gain the house
and force the Light Infantry out.

Indians take the scalp of the last lady, ending the game.
 After this game we played a couple of rounds of a board game called "King of Tokyo" (and ton of fun) before I setup for a game of SAGA.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Custom Movement Trays

Given I always use my regulars in Muskets and Tomahawks in a firing line I have been looking to buy some movement trays that allow the miniatures to stay in base-to-base contact (6 wide, 2 deep - 12 miniatures).  There are some options available out there but I figured I would give making my own a go before I bought.

I have lots of 3mm MDF sitting around (I use it for lots of projects/terrain basing).  I also have a nice home drill press along with a 1" (very near 25mm) drill bit.

My drill press and the MDF I used to make the base.
This shows how I plotted out the tray on the MDF (X marks
the spot for the middle of the drill bit).  This is of course
after I had drilled out the holes.

Above you can see how I plotted out the movement tray on the MDF (using a ball point pen).  Each of the squares in 25mm square (since I use 25mm round bases).  The "X" lines through each box would tell me where to align the drill bit (which has a point at it's center - that is what caused the indentation in the middle of the circles).  I aligned each X one at a time, clamped the tray then used the depth measure on the drill press to know just how far down to drill (essentially routing out the base).  Before I started all this I used a test MDF part to figure out the depth I needed to use.  After all this it was just a matter of aligning each hole and drilling to my depth setting.

After cutting out the base using a jigsaw and sanding the edges.

After all the holes got drilled (not all the way through), I used my jigsaw to cut out the base.  I used a 5mm buffer around the edges of the base.  After cutting it out I used sandpaper to take the edge of the sides of the base.

With miniatures.

Next up I checked that everything fit and they did - all in base-to-base contact.  I can use this for the firing line that is 6 wide x 2 deep, or if they are marching down a road it can be 2 wide x 6 deep.  What is great about this is that it is a single piece of MDF and costs next to nothing provided you have the tools.

Lastly I sanded the base, sprayed it black, then drybrushed my normal progression (scorched brown, graveyard earth and foundry base sand 10C).  A few wilderness tuffs from Army Painter and all set!  Completed pictures below --- not too shabby for the effort.

Completed movement tray.

Completed movement tray.

Completed movement tray.

Monday, January 14, 2013

SAGA Anglo-Danish Warband

After posting my last SAGA battle report I was asked to host some pictures of my friend Roy Scaife's Anglo-Danish 4pt warband.  It consists of a Warlord, two units of Hearthguard, and two units of Warriors.  The warband was painted by John Comiskey (who has his own warbands for SAGA - Jomsvikings and Scots).  Pictures below.








Saturday, January 12, 2013

French and Indian War Reading

I've had several people ask me what I would recommend for reading on the French and Indian War (from a wargamers perspective).  I've managed to pull together a decent collection of books that cover everything from troops, battles, raids, and the conflict as a whole.  See below for some great reading.

The Siege of Fort William Henry
The Siege of Fort William Henry
A great read.  This book covers the units involved, how they came to not only be involved in the siege but how they came to North America.  From a wargaming perspective, this book was a very nice surprise as in gives excellent accounts of many key raids and skirmishes that occurred over the many years in the vicinity of Lake George.  Given my current project surrounding this siege I've been filled with a ton of scenarios and ideas for wargames for Muskets and Tomahawks just from this one book.

The "Rogers Rangers" Collection.
 The "Rogers Rangers" Collection
These fours books ("The History of Rogers Rangers Vol.1 - The Beginnings, Vol.2 - The First Green Berets, Vol.3 - Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, and Vol.4 - The St. Francis Raid) are a collection that many like.  It was out of print and then reprinted on a limited run so you should be able to track them down at the moment.  These books are essentially the original notes, manuals, and such that was written "back in the day" ... so they give a complete account of the thinking of the time, orders, engagements, etc.

General Conflict and Campaign.
General Conflict and Campaign
Osprey offers four titles at the moment around the key battles/campaigns (Monongahela 1754-55, Ticonderoga 1758, Louisburg 1758, and Quebec 1759). All of these offer beautifully illustrated (as one expects from Osprey) pictures and detailed accounts of the engagements.  An excellent overall conflict book is "Empires Collide - The French and Indian War 1754-63" is an easy read and breaks the phases of the conflict down well.

All about Indians.
 About Indians
Again, Osprey delivers here with four titles: Indian Tribes of the New England Frontier, North American Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes, American Woodland Indians, and Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. Lots of pictures, body paint, scalps and background in all four of these books.  If I was to pick one from a wargamer perspective I would start with American Woodland Indians since it gives a good general account of the various tribes involved.

Rangers and American Colonial Troops.
Rangers and American Colonial Troops
The Osprey book American Colonial Ranger is a good wargamer level book that covers the introduction and development of the Rangers in the FIW.  Lots of pictures and reference information.  The three Osprey books, Colonial American Troops 1610-1774: 1, 2 and 3, cover the various troops contributed by the colonies over the several wars (King George's War, Queen Anne's War, French and Indian War, and so on).  Great pictures and information on the "provincials" that fought throughout the war in great numbers.

Fortifications and Specialist Troops.
Fortifications and Specialist Troops
Excellent details and pictures covering the many forts build by both the French and the British are available in the Osprey books "The Forts of Colonial North America" and "The Forts of New France" ... I for one got information from these for my Fort William Henry project.  Highlanders are ever so popular and the book to have on this topic is the Osprey book Highlanders in the French and Indian War.  Lastly is the Osprey book entitled "British Light Infantryman of the Seven Years' War - North America 1757-63" which gives a great account that topic.

Armies and Raids
Armies and Raids
The Osprey "RAID" series of books has provided me several great reads.  The best of these has been the "Tomahawk and Musket - French and Indian Raids in the Ohio Valley 1758" which is a great place to start for some larger games of Muskets and Tomahawks (these are the big raids that occurred, not small skirmishes).  The Osprey book "Louis XV's Army (5) Colonial and Naval Troops" gives account of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine and colonial regular units.  Lastly, for the famous General Wolfe you can get "Wolfe's Army" to cover the later adoptions made by the regulars in North America during the campaign to take Louisburg and Quebec.  "Montcalm's Army" covers the French units commanded by the famous French general who was there from the start and straight through until he died at Quebec.

That's all I have --- happy reading!

A Few Acres Of Snow FIW Boardgame

Although not miniatures related this is a great board game that covers the French and Indian War without needing an advanced degree in history and economics. "A Few Acres of Snow" puts the players in control of New France and England in the struggle to control North America.

No dice, this is a card driven game and I would hazard to say you can pick up the rules in a single sitting - call your first game to be around 2 hours if you are slow.  It has been very intelligently put together - where expansion across a broad landscape favors the French strategy while population build up and interior conquest favors the British strategy.

I've played this game several times now and it has been enjoyable in each session - I highly recommend it if you are looking for a "light" board game that covers the period of the FIW.  Pictures below -- the cards, wooden components, and game board are all of quality production.

Main box - call it "bookshelf" size.

Initial game setup (looking from the French side).

A closer look at the game board.  Each side can engage in
a single siege at a time.  The blue/grey/red tracks on
 the lower left side of the picture are the tracks that indicate
who is winning a siege that can last over the course of several turns.

For more information click here.

North American Fences

A little while ago I purchased some split rail fencing from All The Kings Men (ATKM).  Now the miniatures and terrain range is specifically for 40mm - and they have a nice AWI range (they do War of 1812 and Napoleonic's as well).  What caught my eye while browsing was the split rail fencing offered under the terrain section.  I knew it would be a bit large for 28mm but I was curious --- 24" for $10 ... that isn't bad for pre-assembled fences.

I ordered three or four sets (can't really remember now).  When I got them they were clearly to large for 28mm ... but if I cut them down they would work great.  So I did up a sample and it came out great and was perfect for 28mm!  I followed a four step process (see pictures/notes below).

Fencing "out of the box" with ropes and little birds.
 Step 1:  Remove the ropes and birds from the fencing.

Step 1:  I've removed the ropes and birds.
Step 2: Remove top "cross beams" and trim the "X" supports down.

Step 2: Trimmed down fencing.
Step 3: Paint the fencing.  It comes "pre-painted" (sort of) in a darker brown stain.  I base coat all the wood with GW Rhinox Hide (Scorched Earth) which goes on easy.  Next I drybrush GW Steel Legion Drab (Graveyard Earth) followed by Foundry Base Sand 10C (can also use GW Ushabti Bone or what was Bleached Bone).

Step 4: I static grass the base.  On some of the fencing the "sand" on the base envelopes the fence junction (I only had a couple like this).  I used Woodland Scenic's clump foliage over the built-up sand areas to make it look like a bush had grown in.

Completed 28mm fencing.

Completed 28mm fencing.
Size comparison before modification.

Size comparison after modification.

The whole process doesn't take that long at all and for the price you get a lot of fencing (putting them together takes a lot of time ... so this is big cost savings in my book).

Hope that helps for anyone who wants to expand their fencing pool.