Wednesday 25 March 2020

Alternative Gaming

Off the painting table this weekend  has come the first of what will be four dismounted Union cavalry units. Following the other experimental Civil War units finished a little earlier this year these are based on a single unit base. This particular unit of 9 figures plus a horse holder set (it seems odd to me that the Perrys only included two held horses in this set whereas other sets have three) will represent what I will call a small unit. I know that the horse holders would not be that close to the troopers, but I wanted them all on the one base so I am exercising some artistic license.

The inclusion of this unit in this post creates the perfect segue into the real subject of this post. As the impact of COVID-19 begins to be felt around the world it has sadly intruded into my wargaming space with the suspension of hostilities amongst our gaming groups. And now that we are in lockdown the thought of a total suspension is almost unbearable, especially since I have missed a couple games that has meant that I have only played three games this year, so I have resurrected an campaign idea I had way back in 2013.

The game is based broadly on the Stategy and Tactics game “The American Civil War”. I remember purchasing this some time back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s and I still have the map and the magazine (somewhere) but the counters are lost and the rules long since disintegrated.

Back in 2013 I was thinking about running an ACW campaign and around that time I had started playing the game Lux DUX on the iPad and the simplicity of their maps appealed to me. I figured with a simplified map and with the basic rule mechanisms that I could recall from the S&T game I could make a pretty good game that would provide a strategic background to tabletop games. So I quickly drew up this map:

I then set about writing the rules, loosely based on the S&T game, the object of which was for a game where the United States player sets out to destroy the Confederate military forces either by destruction of their field armies in battle or by destroying the supply grid. The result of that work can be found here.

The idea of just how to play this as an alternative to table gaming while we try to avoid this insidious virus is to use the strategic component as a play by email campaign. The table top battles give way to a combat resolution system that balances the differences between opposing forces with a die roll. This required a cut down set of rules which are here.

Hopefully I can get this up and running in the next few days and our group members can play a game of sorts. I will provide reports on these pages.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Crimean Completion

Well what a week. For those unaware I work in aviation and when I went home from work on Friday there were “challenges” in the aviation world - declining demand, reduced schedules, etc. Less than 24 hours later borders were closing and the industry was in a tailspin. Another 24 hours later and almost every airline on the planet was facing ruin and huge job losses. Walking into work on Monday was surreal.

Thank goodness for model soldiers! They certainly have saved my sanity in the madness of the last five days.

First off the painting table are some French cuirassiers from the Second Empire. There were two cuirassier regiments, the 6th and 9th, that went to the Crimea (although I can find no record of them actually  being engaged) and ten regiments served in the Franco-Prussian War. Again, like the recent post for the two regiments of Chasseurs d’Afrique, these are an expansion on an existing unit, up gauging the basing from two figures to three figures to a stand . Here is the before and after state of the “refurbishment”.



Then comes the sixth and final battalion (the 49th Regiment) of the British Second Division in the Crimea.

My British collection now counts 17 infantry battalions, 5 light and 5 heavy cavalry units, two horse and six field artillery batteries. I think that is enough and I can now say with some certainty that this project is completed - although if my lottery numbers come up I may feel the need to retract that statement

Sunday 15 March 2020

47th Regiment of Foot

The British Crimean expansion continues with the addition of the 47th foot to the collection.

This is the second to last battalion of the expansion.

Next up, some more French Crimean cavalry.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Paraguayan War Book

On 29 February  I took advantage of the Foundry Leap Day 20% off sale and ordered “The Paraguayan War” book.  I had heard good things about this work, but my expectations of presentation was not high - probably a low cost print with maybe a spiral binding, despite a relatively high price - you know what most books outside of the Osprey range are like. When I unpacked the parcel today I was very pleasantly surprised.

I was presented with an A4 sized hard bound book of 188 pages, printed on quality paper, with hundreds of black and white line drawings,  detailed uniform descriptions, orders of battle, maps, sketches of gunboats, descriptions of campaigns and battles. Too often I find that with similar books that the content order is so muddled that you have to look in several places within the book to find what you need and even then some important detail will be missing. Since my day job is presenting and publishing technical documentation I can say with a degree of professional appreciation that this book appears very well structured, delivering the right information in the right order.

I can see this is going to be an invaluable source for the Great Paraguayan War collection.

Those gun boats are looking might tempting...I can feel the urge to do a bit of scratch building...

Monday 9 March 2020

Crimean War Chasseurs d’Afrique - Part Two

Over the weekend I developed a sore tooth that flared up last night. A couple of pain killers knocked it back and all felt good until about 10:00 am this morning when the pain got worse and worse. A trip to the dentist determined that an abscess was the problem. One hour later the root canal was completed and the pain in my mouth was gone, although the pain in the wallet persists.

The upside of the experience is that I was home early and able to finish the basing work on the refurbished second regiment of Crimean War Chasseurs d’Afrique. The regiment contains three new figures that were painted over the weekend.

A regiment of cuirassiers is waiting for three new troopers and a full refurbishment on the painting tray.

Saturday 7 March 2020

The Inner Magpie Strikes

Late last year I read that the Perrys were planning a major new release. Being self focused I immediate got excited and thought  “wouldn’t this be great if it was for the Franco-Austrian War of 1859” even though the release of such a range would be seriously injurious to my bank balance. But alas my illusions (or is it delusions) were shattered when in early January they announced the first releases in their War of the Triple Alliance range. My immediate thought was “no this is not for me”. Then the inner magpie began to stir.

In truth this conflict has always piqued my interest because it sits slap bang in the middle of my preferred era of play – mid 19th Century. The forces are relatively small and the terrain is different. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that I have never gamed a South American conflict (discounting the armies we used in a Falkland’s game we played way back in the early ’90s on the basis that it wasn’t a continental conflict).

So I “umm’ed” and “ah’ed” for a while – well for no more than a couple of hours really - before I started looking at a few web articles and some back issues of Wargames Illustrated. However, when I saw that much of the war was fought in and around the swamps among the Paraguayan and Parana Rivers I became a little less interested and the magpie folded its wings. Then on 17 January the Perry’s Facebook page showed painted samples and the magpie saw shiny objects and became very restless. Still uncommitted I purchased the Osprey Campaign book on the subject and it seemed on a quick glance that apart from all the swamp fighting much of the conflict was about the storming of fixed positions which could make for a difficult wargame and the magpie settled down again. But then as my next order to the Perrys was being prepared the magpie swept in, tossed out the nine packs of French AWI infantry and inserted six of Argentinian and three Paraguayan infantry packs. Seven days later and the first of two boxes arrived, and the second box three days later.

Since the Paraguayans arrived in the first box they were the first to get the brush. Their incredibly simple uniforms came up superbly. This is not a full unit, but rather two thirds of one and one third of another because the magpie got so excited about the shiny objects that it failed to get the figure mix right. These chaps will have to wait to be based until more figures arrive.

The two Argentine units below are presented in the regulation uniform of  blue jacket and red trousers,  with havelocks. The smaller establishment of the Argentine infantry battalions sees them with their field strength set at 12 figures (the Paraguayan and Uruguayan units will have 18 figures and the Brazilians 24 to take account of the variable establishments). I actually have another 12 Argentine figures, without command (again thanks to the magpie’s impetuosity) and they will be given a mix of uniforms.

This force will expand over the course of the year to include:

  • 10 infantry battalions
  • 5 cavalry units
  • 3 gun sets 
  • 6 infantry battalions 
  • 2 cavalry units
  • 2 gun sets
  • 6 line infantry battalions
  • 4 militia infantry battalions
  • 2 cavalry units
  • 1 gun set
  • 4 infantry battalions
  • 1 cavalry unit
No doubt the Perrys will dangle some other temptations in front of the magpie will be impossible to resist.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Crimean War Chasseurs d’Afrique

Last year the British and Russian cavalry of this collection were upgraded to the “three figures to a base” standard and now it is the turn of the French cavalry for that treatment.

Here is the first of two Chasseurs d’Afrique regiments that accompany the French force. The figures are from the Wargames Foundry Franco-Prussian War range.

On the painting table now is something a little different...more on this in a few days.