Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Memoriam: MIss Maisy

Our dog, our family member, our friend, Maisy lost her all too brief struggle with cancer. The vet gave her 3 months, almost 8 months ago. She gave it her best until the end.
We knew we had the right dog when we brought home this German Shepherd- Doberman mix at age one, and she passed the ear and tail pull test, with our then very young kids.
She has been a watch dog, with her loud, deep bark keeping away would be burglars and salesmen alike.
A protector, once stepping out into the street to stop a car before it hit my son, who wasn't paying attention.
An unofficial mascot of the Basement Generals, snagging treats and getting pets from all the boys.
And, most of all, a loving companion. Eight years was not enough. You were taken from us too early, and if you're not waiting on the Other Side, then there is no God.
Maisy. The best dog I ever had.

Some painting. Some playing.

First, the holidays gave me a chance to get some painting done. Two motivators. 1- Need some room on my desk to paint. 2- Some of you might recall I have a large Renaissance Army that's been looking for rules and some cavalry. Part of the reason I've held back on an army that's so close to completion is a lack of good horsies. Every seems to make the heavies (Gendarmes), but nobody I really liked made all the other cav for the period (Stardiots, Genitors, Spanish and Italian knights) until last week when The Assault Group came out with just what I've been waiting for.
No excuses now. Get on it.
As far as rules, I think I've got it, but stay tuned. Now, for the minis.
The Landsknects above are to help fill out my larger ranks. I paint them in batches, then spread them out over different bases to give that motley appearance of the German mercenary they are.
The two mounted standards are actually OG Spanish Genitors I bought in a moment of weakness that are standing in for mounted Arquebusier command (Because the OG packs come in units of 10, with no command). These will, of course, be replaced with TAG when they come out.

The Viking Bows have been sitting around for awhile needing paint, so they got it.

Next, play test time. Lead Addict came over. He is on the quest for some 15mm SciFi rules to compliment his wonderful figs. We used Crossfire for this play test. Crossfire is one of those games that I love on an intellectual level. For squad to platoon sized encounters, I think it's one of the best rule sets around. It takes some time to wrap your head around because they end up being very realistic, not like a wargame at all. 
Without spending too much time on detail, you keep initiative til you lose it. You lose it through having a unit suppressed or ineffectual fire from your side. Cover and line of sight is crucial, along with setting up kill zones. 
Playing the alien mercenaries attacking a mining outpost, we were outplayed, out maneuvered and shot all to hell from the start. So, it can be hard to be objective. It's going to take some time to convert a WW2 ruleset and convert to the far future.
Some of the terrain is unfinished (but it's a play test)
On the rule list next is Future War Commander, (which I love Blitzkreig Commander) and Tomorrow's War from Ambush Alley.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

VSF Saturday

The Baroness took her quarterly tour of the kingdom last end of week (girlfriend's weekend), so I called for a special Saturday edition of the Basement Generals.

"As the Great War of 1883 ignited, the Czar, in need of funds sold Alaska to the nefarious Professor Nightshade in return for his cutting edge technology. This, of  course, upset the British who were already at war with Russia, but also angered the U.S., who had been not only eyeing the territory for themselves, but had personal scores to settle with the evil genius.
America soon joined the war after  one of their frigates was sunk by a submersible of unknown origin. It was obviously another one of Nightshade's contractions. As a show of faith in the new cause, the U.S. dispatched an American Expeditionary Force to France to aid their new allies in a push into German occupied France."
The Franco-Americans were surprised to see Russanas among the Nighshade-German forces. Before they could react, Rokkittruppen took to the skies and quickly captured some ruins. With their aerial troops holding a strong position on the right flank, boilers were stoked and the German, Russian and Automated forces came to life.
French and American contraptions fired round after round into Nightshades enormous Steam Walker. Finally one shot crippled, but didn't destroy it. It blazed away with it's main gun, knocking out the French Roue.
Russinas troops trying a "straight up the middle" approach were cut to ribbons by the American Mobile MG Emplacement, and forced to flee. French Marines took the woods opposite the Rokkittruppen and began a fire-fight that lasted most of the game. It finally took a well placed shot from the French Spyder to break the German sky soldiers.
It was right after this small victory that things fell apart for the French and Americans. Within a few turns, all of their armored contraptions were knocked out. With no way to knock out the beats on the other side, they decided to withdraw. What started as a fairly balanced fight, turned into a crushing victory for Nightshade and his pawns.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gettin' some painting done

I guess the Gendarmes I did a while back wasn't torture enough, so decided to return to the paint table by working on complicated paint scheme for the leader of a "Songs of Blades and Heroes" retinue.
Meet Sir Reginald de Bulle.

Dark Age Thursday

I wasn't sure who was going to show Thursday, so I dug out yet another old favorite rules set "Flower of Chivalry". For Dark Age you say? I think it works even better one of my favorite periods.
In this particular battle, Viking raiders decided they would take advantage of the current instability in England (what with a new king taking over) and raid a large village. The local Normans heard about the landing and are racing to stop them.
If the Vikings could spend 3 turns in the village, it would count as "looted", for purposes of the game, and give them extra victory points.
I had command of the Norman horse. "What? The horse killer himself in charge of cavalry yet again? He must be getting cocky". Facing me across the table and making a bee-line for the village was the Marshal. A ruthless adversary who would show no mercy.
My plan was to use my speed to reach the village first. But I forgot, horse don't move that much faster than foot, unless they charge, and I'd be blown once I got there. My first turn, they wouldn't even move, same for my ally controlling the foot. Across the table the Norse were making steady progress, although the Marshal's troops were spread out and not holding the tight formation his fellow commander had.
Well, I managed to get to the village first, then realized I would drop to a crawl once inside the village perimeter. There were a few rounds I was subjected to bow and missile fire and lost a unit. I almost dismounted, but decided not too. I'm glad I did, because once I came to grips with the spread out vikings, I slaughtered them.
On the other flank, most of the heavy Norman foot never got to blows. I single militia unit was holding the high ground against all comers, even the Viking Huscarls. We broke them, 7 stands to 4.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday FPGA

Since I've been swamped lately, essjam was nice enough to bring over his 6mm Nappie collection to put on a Fast Play Grande Armee game.
Some things of note about this scale and rules:
1- Scott's (essjam) collection, 3 corps each of French and Austrians, fit neatly into a plastic milk crate. As posted in an earlier post, they look great, too:
2- Like most wargamers, I've played in a lot of Napoleonic games. I've been spoiled enough to play in some really beautiful engagements with giant tables packed full of gorgeously painted 28mm figures. And after 8+ hours not a dang thing is accomplished, except maybe a few cavalry skirmishes on the flanks. Not so with FPGA. It's a truly elegant system that lets you play huge battles to a conclusion in 3-4 hours.

This particular fight involved the French trying to make headway into Austria, fording a river (the Danube?). At first, we played it that the river was fordable only at the bridges. This proved a bit much, as my poor frenchies were forced to send one stand (brigade) across at a time where they summarily executed one by one. So, the river was changed to fordable. This may sound like giving too much leeway, but a brigade counts as "vulnerable" while crossing an obstacle like a river. This means they have to re-roll any successful hits in combat, and they're easier to combat by attackers. Even outnumbering the Austrians 2-1, it was proving a tough slog.
We called it early when my wife finally came home from a long business trip. Not because she made us, but because we missed her: )
It's like their sitting there laughing at me! And what are those in the background? Reserves? What self respecting wargamer has reserves?