Friday, November 30, 2012

Best of the Hail Caesar Yahoo Group, November 2012

There was a good multiday discussion on what happens when an infantry unit defeats a cavalry unit in melee that I found informative.

M.G. parrskool kicked it off with this question:
"Here's the thing...........
A unit of Celtish light Cav. attacked my unit of early imperial romans and lost the fight. The romans followed up to maintain contact. I was a bit disturbed by this as I did not think that infantry usually charged cav."

After several days of back and forth and rules discussion, Alex Elstone's first reply turns out to have hit the mark:
"Well, the Romans followed up to maintain contact. This isn't counted as a charge but a continuation of the combat. Look at it as if the cavalry were surrounded and couldn't quite extricate themselves from the combat. The reason why it looks like the Romans charged is all due to the restrictions of model unit depiction. Everything is depicted in regimented squares, whereas in a real combat men would engage in a swirling melee. The cavalrymen would most likely have lost their bearings, momentarily and unable to escape or that the Romans were very quick to cut off their retreat.

Ordinarily, the infantry cannot charge cavalry. According to the rules, the infantry can attempt to charge, but cavalry can react to a charge by countercharging. When they do, the infantry stop and become disordered putting them at a considerable disadvantage."


As a followup, Alex clarrified how and when infantry can initiate charges against cavalry:
"Cavalry can only countercharge against a charge to its front as long as it is not in open order, disordered or locked in combat.

Infantry can charge cavalry, but it is not advisable to do it against the cavalry unit's front because the cavalry cavalry can countercharge. If they charge a flank or rear, then the cavalry can only turn to face. When cavalry countercharges infantry, the infantry stops and becomes disordered. See the section on countercharging on page 60. Actually the last paragraph of the first column on page 61. "

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey, what's that Sally Field Academy Award quote?

Wow, thanks guys! I recently got a pair of nods from Big Lee and Fiery Monkey Boy for a Lebister Award, which is a bit like a chain letter of 'thumb's up' that's been making the rounds across the wargame community lately. Big Lee always posts in good spirits, has great photography of his projects and games, and provides a glimpse into the battles played with his mates Fran and Ray (The Angry Lurker and Dont't Throw a 1). The three of them are part of an entertaining group of gamers, and I get a kick out of reading of their various wargame exploits. Fiery Monkey Boy plays a wide variety of games, not always in systems or periods I do, but his great writing, painting and excellent battle reports keeps me coming back (I mean check this out. I don't play Warmachine or Napolenoics, but that is beautiful work)

Once you receive a Leibster Award, you're supposed to pass the love on by nominating five other sites with less than 200 followers. This was a pretty difficult exercise for me, since I love each of the blogs I read. Of those I visit regularly, these five are ones that have less than 200 subscribers and haven't been nominated for a Leibster yet. Please visit them, they are well worth your time:

Chicago Skirmish
I love these guys. Chicago Skirmish is a small group of gamers that play a lot of Songs of Blades and Heroes, post apocalyptic skirmish, some sci fi as well as the odd historical game. 

Lots of great battle reports, dedicated project updates as they prepare for new periods or scenarios, and great photography. 

The Sharp End of the Brush
I started following The Sharp End of the Brush after learning he was another Maryland gamer, and even though he plays a lot of horse and musket (a period I haven't started) I've stuck with his blog for the lovely figure painting, detailed terrain, and the relaxed manner in which he pursues his hobby.

He plays frequently with his son, and adds bits of his personal life to updates. I enjoy seeing a happy father and husband integrating his hobby into a well rounded life. 

I dabble in a lot of different genres of gaming, but I always come back to historicals because of my love of history. Seeing new posts from Satrap is always a delight, not only for the beautiful figures he paints but the snaps he takes when visiting actual historical sites. 

Wow, Spiff's work in jaw dropping! I found his blog with my recent rekindled interest in Battletech. He posts frequently to the "Lords of the Battlefield" forum with perfectly painted 'mechs, custom N-scale battlemechs, as well as a number of other sci fi miniatures.

Rob Hawkins Hobby Blog
I just discovered Rob Hawkins blog recently while I was researching my Halloween game. Rob is a former GW painter and modelmaker and his experience shows. 

Astonishing, professional photography along with detailed tutorials to show you step-by-step how he pulls off his amazing conversions. Amazing work, and barely scooting in under the 200 subscriber threshold. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Did You See These Wargame Deals for the Holidays?

"Run for the hills! The Holidays are upon us!" No need to panic. I've been keeping an eye out for hobby game specials and deals, especially around the Black Friday to Cyber Monday crunch and collected them here.  Have you seen any other great gift ideas to add to my suggestions?

Black Friday and Christmas Deals

  • Miniature Building Authority (Ends Nov 23): A few items are on sale at Miniature Building Authority, Black Friday only.
  • Osprey Publishing 25% Off (Ends Nov 23): Black Friday only, Osprey is offering 25% all of their titles, but I think Amazon offers a similar discount every day plus grants free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
  • Mantic's Christmas Crazy Box (Ships Late November): Mantic has thrown a grab bag of plastic sprues including orcs, zombies, skeletons, sci fi terrain, vehicles and more for only 25 pounds (about $40 US)
  • Brookhurst Hobbies Black Friday to Cyber Monday Sale (Ends Nov 26): Wow! Tons of stuff slashed for online orders. Tumbling Dice, Peter Pig, Xyston 15% off or more. Rules of Engagement 28mm WWII figures 40% off, Clash of Empires rules, SHQ, 50%, plus more on sale. Check it out!
  • The Warstore Black Friday Sale (Ends Nov. 26): Enter the code "Black Friday" and receive 5% off all orders at the Warstore, plus tons more on sale! Free sprues and tanks on Battlefront orders! Free figures with MERCs orders! Bits Bags! Tons of stuff!
  • Brigade Games 10% Off Orders of $30 or More (Ends Nov 26): Just enter code "TURKEY" on online orders through Brigade Games site, plus FREE shipping on orders of $100 or more.
  • Cool Stuff Inc, 10% Off (Ends Nov 26): Enter promo code BF2012 on Cool Stuff Inc for 10% their card, board, and collectible miniatures.
  • Indus 20% Off (Ends Nov. 30): Indus produces 28mm figures from India's 15th to 19th centuries, now on Black Friday discount.
  • Army Transport 10% Off (Ends Dec 1): Army Transport carrying cases are snug homes for your little men. 
  • Newline's Pre-Christmas Sale (Ends Dec 1): 25% off all Newline Designs ranges, Outland Miniatures Figures and 19th Century Miniatures. (Excludes Army and Bargain Packs.)  Some good looking Dark Ages, Late Roman and Biblicals.
  • Fantasy Flight Games Holiday Sale (Ends Dec 3): Lot of stuff on sale, but in particular, Wings of War planes $5 each, Tanhauser prepainted figures $5 each. Tons of games including Battlelore expansion, Letter of Marque, and Tide of Iron on sale.
  • Architects of War Free Shipping (Ends Dec 25): Free shipping on orders over $50 to continental United States. Lots of great terrain, SAGA armies and rules, classic DnD figures from Otherworld, Warlord Games, Perry, you name it. If you need Warlord items, this deal is better than Warlord's Free Worldwide shipping which is only available for orders over $75. 
  • Ebor Miniatures Free Shipping (Ends Dec 21): Not my periods (WWI and War of Spanish Succession), but Ebor produces handsome figures, and you can't beat FREE international shipping.
  • Legio Heroica 20% off orders of 40 (about $50) or more + shipping (Ends Dec 21) : Great little 15mm figures, lots of late medieval and renaissance miniatures, now 20% off
  • Wargames Foundry Christmas Special! Is Canceled!: For years I've heard of Foundry's legendary Christmas specials. I was finally ready to take advantage of it this year, but Foundry is under new management and they've decided to cancel the special in favor of lowering the prices of their figures year round. They ARE having a Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader tournament on Dec. 15, with free "alpha 40K" sci fi fishmen with laser guns figures for participants. There will even be tea and biscuits. It all sounds lovely, but I do not live in England.

Big Box Wargame Gift Guide

There's something nice about finding that big box of goodies under the tree at Christmas (even if most gamers need to put that box there themselves).  I've found a handful of boxed sets that any hobby gamer would be happy to open up. Even if these aren't your usual cup of tea, there's no better way to start a new period than a big box of two opposing armies and rules.

Bolt Action: Assault on Normandy ($96 + Free Shipping): Warlord Games 28mm WWII set includes 20 U.S. Army figures and 20 German Heer, the Bolt Action rules in hardback, a ruined farmhouse, and dice. Great deal for a fun set of rules and great miniatures. Outside of the UK you'll want to get your orders in by Dec 4th - 6th depending on where you are in the world.
UPDATE: The Warstore is offering this for $73.99, with an additional 5% off during their Black Friday weekend sale (coupon code "Black Friday").

Flames of War Open Fire! ($68 + Free Shipping from Amazon) : The new Flames of War plastic starter set is by all accounts a great way to get into 15mm WWII gaming. 118 miniatures (U.S. and German), V-1 flying bomb, a quickstart guide, Flames of War rulebook, dice, tokens and cardboard terrain.
For King & Country Pike & Shotte Starter Set ($96 + Free Shipping) : Includes the "Pike & Shotte" rulebook adapted from the popular Black Powder rules, and 82 miniatures - including 12 cavalry.

Hail Caesar Conquest of Gaul ($96 + Free Shipping): Man, I love Hail Caesar. This is a great way to pick up the rules and get into the game. The boxed set contains 94 miniatures, 30 Romans plus a scorpion and crew, and 60 celts. I really like the Warlord celts, and you can never have too many.

Samurai Battles ($49.99 from The Warstore while supplies last): A big box chock full of miniatures with two rules sets: Zvezda's Art of Tactics plus Richard Borg's popular Command and Colors rules. The 20mm scale figures could also be used as the basis of a tabletop samurai army. Also available from Amazon for $59 plus Free Shipping.

DARK VENGEANCE Warhammer 6th Edition Starter Box ($87 + Free Shipping from Amazon): A friend of mine picked this up and I was able to take a look at this newest Warhammer 40K boxes set. Say what you will about Games Workshop's corporate practices, they know how to make a mean wargame. This set is chock full of minis: Dark Angels space marines, bikes, characters and their enemies, chaos cultists and marines plus an enormous chaos beasty. Plus, rules, dice, markers and other goodies. Great stuff, and like catnip to younger wargamers who've been raised on sci fi and fantasy movies and comics. Also on sale for $89 from The Warstore.

X-Wing Miniatures Game ($29 + Free Shipping from Amazon, but you'll want two sets so more like $58)  : X-Wing seems to be the new hotness this year. I've noticed the same sort of buzz for X-Wing that I saw a few years ago for SAGA. The rules seems simple, fun with enough tactical decisions to make it interesting. The miniatures are detailed, and there are expansion packs with new ships and cards to expand the game. From whatI understand you'll want to copies of the core set though, both for the extra ships as well as the bonus dice. It's also more cost effective to buy a second core set rather than bonus packs for an X-Wing and Tie Fighters.  

Mantic Starter Paint Set (£9, about $14 + 20% shipping to U.S, 10% Europe from North Star) : This isn't a Holiday special, but a great deal on 9 paints from Mantic, plus 6 plastic miniatures for £1 per bottle! This is an awesome way to get a new hobbyist a set of basic paints. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Renedra Wattle Fence

I knocked out a pack of Renedra wattle fences this weekend. I thought the little "feet" used for basing might look a bit goofy, so I gave each length of fence a base. To make sure the fence ends could join up seamlessly I left the bases a bit short, leaving a baseless gap on the ends. I might go back and tidy that up, but seen at normal playing height those gaps aren't noticeable. The pic above only shows a few lengths of fence, but the pack contains enough to create quite a large enclosure for dark ages livestock or a village.

I have a few more bits of dark ages terrain I want to get finished up before moving on to the actual figures. I'm looking forward to finally jumping into SAGA and maybe extending those warbands into full on 1st Crusade and Sicilian Norman armies for Hail Caesar. Black Friday is coming and I'm already starting to collect a list of wargame deals for the holidays, hoping to find deals to flesh out these nascent dark ages armies. I'll post whatever I find in case you are interested. Do you know of any hobby or gane deals coming online for Black Friday?

Friday, November 16, 2012

You've Heard of Wargaming, But What About Farmgaming?

Continuing with my break from painting tabletop soldiers, I decided to catch up on some other lingering projects. These were decidedly farm themed: a pack of pigs from Architects of War, and the Gripping Beast Dark Ages cart.

Dark Ages Cart, Gripping Beast

I picked up a this cart while at Fall-In this year. I was eyeing the lasercut MDF kits by 4Grounds, but the Gripping Beast kt came with horses and an extra hand cart for a only a few dollars more. Everything went together easily, but it took me a few minutes to realize there were two cart sidewall options included: a series of vertical "spokes" or the solid walls I went with. I figured the solid walls were generic enough to fit into a number of time periods without raising any eyebrows.

The horses are shaggy dark age ponies. I attempted a bay or chestnut color on one, but it may have come out too red. Maybe I should give it a wash of GW Devlan Mud or Sepia?

Pigs, Architects of War

I loved these little pigs from Architects of War, but they've been sitting in the lead pile since Historicon. I based them on washers and gave them a quick paint job to get them on the table. The mama pig with piglets has a muddy base for eventual deposit in an Architects of War "pig poke" once I get one. I figure these will be useful as either table scatter, baggage or objective markers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Late to the Party: HBO's Pacific as Wargame Inspiration

There are a lot of materials that are necessary for painting miniatures: good paints, brushes, a tidy workspace, and good lighting, but there's one essential that's rarely discussed: binocular vision.  I recently had eye surgery and have spent the last few days sporting a truly boss gauze eye patch. Very stylish; the ladies have been fawning all over me. Attempting to finish up some wargame projects has been right out though, so I've been catching up on HBO's "The Pacific " instead.

I loved "Band of Brothers " (while watching the series I did some internet research to find out more info about Easy company and stumbled onto a page about a wargaming the Brecourt artillery battery, my first exposure to historical wargames), but I'd heard mediocre reviews of "The Pacific".  I binged on the first half of the season while healing up from surgery, and while not as tight as BoB, I'm enjoying The Pacific a lot more than I expected. I was surprised to see the Battle of Alligator Creek in the first episode which was very similar to the Fireball Forward scenario I played at Fall-In a few weeks ago.

As a campaign for wargaming, I've always found the Pacific a tough area to wrap my head around. The ETO during WWII is "easier" to game. The forces (U.S, British, German, Soviet, Italian, etc.) all behave in familiar ways. I've grown up watching war and action movies and read my share of history, and the concepts of firing, taking cover, moving and flanking are ingrained in the way I think a battle should play out. The Japanese tactics of holing up in caves or launching human wave Banzai attacks are strange. The geography of the Pacific is equally alien. Fighting across Europe soldiers needed to capture strategic crossroads, or fight in towns or woods. The Pacific doesn't have the same sorts of landmarks, each battle playing out within a "fog" of dense foliage or across barren hellscapes of blasted earth. In comparison to BoB, "The Pacific" throws these differences into relief: the battles are more chaotic, the fighting closer and bloodier, and the sanity of the men fighting in these horrible conditions breaks down faster and in more disturbing ways than shown in Band of Brothers. It seems to me that the enemy and the terrain were so alien to the Western mindset that simply coping with the strangeness took a toll on their spirit.

My knowledge of the Pacific campaign is fairly weak, so I'd like to research and game it, but it seems it would be better suited to solo or coop games against a programmed enemy, a bit like Reiner Knizia's "Lord of the Rings Board Game". I could be wrong though, as the Fireball Forward game I played and the beach landing that was running nearby at Fall-In  proved two sides facing off across a pacific jungle could be a heap of fun.

As a side note, I also did some initial playtesting of a scifi rules set I've had on the back burner for years. I'm writing it for myself, but if turns out to work I'll throw it up on the web.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Desert Wasteland Wargame Terrain Cloth Tutorial

I've been upgrading my terrain scenics lately: woods, buildings, walls and other items that sit on top of the table, but I've been holding out on updating the terrain board or cloth that our miniature wargames are played on. I toyed with the idea of creating terrain boards, but after seeing some impressive terrain cloth tutorials (Of Metal Men's, Jeff Knudsen's Terrain Cloth and Balagan's Felt Cloth for example), I decided to tackle one myself as part of my Flocktober projects. Hurricane Sandy and Fall-In delayed completion, but pics and a tutorial after the jump.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall In 2012 - Saturday and Sunday

Our Fall-In 2012 adventures continue with lot of World War II action and a return to Lord of the Rings. Pics and comments after the jump.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall In 2012 - Friday

We made it to the 2012 Fall In convention in Lancaster PA and I've been trying to play and see as many games as possible.  Pics and a report after the jump.