Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Battle Chronicler

I found a most useful product yesterday, Battle Chronicler. Besides the fact that it is an extremely useful product, it's also a free download! This is a program that will allow me to create some very cool After Action Reports. I've included a screen shot below to give some idea what a battle report in progress will look like.

To quote from the site: "Battle Chronicler aims to make it quick and easy to produce great looking battle reports that other gamers will want to read. Using the latest developments in Windows technology Battle Chronicler delivers fantastic graphics and a ultra modern user interface. So if you are miniatures wargamer looking to enhance your hobby with some cool software then you have come to the right place."

I'm really looking forward to using Battle Chronicler for my AARs, especially when I want to record campaign battles. I'm off to game some WWII tonight using Too Fat Lardies I Aint' Been Shot Mum so I'll hopefully have a battle report tomorrow using Battle Chronicler!

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Napoleonic Campaign

After the quick end of my last Napoleonic campaign with Vidal, I decided to go ahead with another campaign project that I've been puttering away at for a while. This one's a little more ambitious but quite different in approach. I was able to find some wonderful maps built with Campaign Cartographer, a CAD-like program used guessed it... build maps. I have the program and I was planning at some point to produce some campaign maps for point-to point movement but these were shown on TMP as a part of another Napoleonic campaign and the creator graciously allowed me to use the map for our campaigns. He has created several maps to cover all the major campaigning areas in Europe and the one chosen for our current campaign attempt is below.

The purple and yellow lines are the general starting positions of the French and the Allies, respectively. Our campaign will be based loosely on the 1813 campaign in Germany. Our group's 28mm Napoleonic collection is quite large but doesn't reflect the 1813 orders of battle well, except to show that we have French, Russian, Austrian and Prussian contingents. The campaign is large enough that I could have used the historical OBs and when a battle is fought we could merely plug in our units to fulfill the necessary on-table OB. I could give a whole host of excuses why I didn't do this but it's sufficient to say that for this part of the project I was rather lazy. I decided to use the OBs of the forces we have and make them reflect the general 1813 situation (although, as I write this I'm rather regretting this decision....maybe there's time to go back and re-work the OBs...hmmmm?). There is another reason for the ahistorical OBs. As the game-master and map steward, I didn't want to get too bogged down in the logistics of moving all the icons on the map the historical OBs would demand. Granted, I use Photoshop and that allows me to streamline the process enormously. But this is our first test of the new rules (more of them in a moment) and I thought that smaller OBs would be better to try them out.

A sample of the unit icons used on the campaign map.

As for the rules, these are again another try at merging Piquet's Field of Battle and the campaign system Theatre of War. Vidal and I were able to fairly easily play the card system in ToW via email (although it could be awkward and clunky at times). We were able to do this because there were only two of us and we both have extensive experience with Piquet products. The concepts and mechanisms were familiar to us and there was little time lost in mis-interpretations. For my current attempt, I wanted more players and unfortunately, I have yet to come up with a comfortable method of playing a ToW-based campaign via email with more than two players. So, the current attempt at campaign rules uses some basic FoB and ToW ideas and mechanisms but the initiative rolls have disappeared and the campaign and battle decks have been separated and altered alot. You can see them here (file name FoB_ToW_1813_rules_2.1). I should note that I make little or no attempt here or in the rules to explain basic Piquet philosophies or mechanisms.

Unfortunately, I can't publish the OBs for the campaign but I can show a sample of the order submission form that I created for players to submit their moves etc each turn. This is a simple Excel spreadsheet that utilizes drop-down selections for ease of use. At the beginning of each turn, each player will receive an updated map and this form with any pertinent information. The players simply input the necessary movement and order information and email the file back to me.

So, it's off to the races and hopefully we'll see some interesting battles. The players are currently preparing their initial deployments and moves. Hopefully, by the end of the week the first campaign turn will have been made. Tally-ho!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Good and the Bad

The Good first! While I was at Vidal's house on Wednesday playing 15mm WWII, I was able to take some pics of his new 28mm Carlist Wars figures. We almost have enough finished to try out a small game.

Carlist infantry with a very cool bugler!

Carlist skirmishers. Gotta' love those tams!

Now the Bad. While at Vidal's, we had the opportunity to adjudicate the current turn of our Theatre of War Napoleonic campaign. The French were able to follow up on their last victory and catch the same Austrian battlegroup as they were attempting to retreat northwards to safety. The resulting battle we didn't even fight on the tabletop since there were 28 French units to three Austrian (not even worth setting up for). We agreed that it would be a "Crushing Victory" for the French and the resultant loss in National Will Points for the Austrians brought their total down to zero. Thus the campaign is over!

I think that for future versions I need to adjust the National Will Point totals to more effectively synchronize with the size of the map. Low totals for small maps and and larger totals for the big ones. Otherwise, it's almost impossible to traverse a large map, fighting battles along the way and staying in the fight.

My next attempt at a Napoleonic campaign will involve point-to-point movement , more players, and a more streamlined hybrid of Theatre of War and Field of Battle. But more of that anon...

15mm Rapid Fire

Nobody could say that my gaming experiences aren't varied, at least for me. In the last few weeks, I've played 1/285 modern, 28mm Napoleonic, and painted 54mm AWI, 28mm Napoleonics and Carlist Wars. On Wednesday past, I was invited to a 15mm WWII Rapid Fire game in the bustling burg of Cambridge (the imitation in Ontario, not the original). I've played a few games of Rapid Fire over the years and always enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I've never played them often enough to get a good feel for them. This will become apparent in my description of Wednesday's game.

Overview of the table.

My friend Vidal provided all the terrain and figures for the game ( and the venue and wine) and the scenario was lifted out of the Wargames Illustrated 259, Saint Clair sue L'Elle. In a nutshell, a small German infantry force is holding a town and river crossing that, for some inexplicable reason, the Americans want to occupy. This scenario had some interesting elements, not least of which was that there were no armoured all! The Germans had two infantry companies, a battalion HQ element, one medium machine gun and a Pak40 with limited HE rounds (5 to be precise). The Americans fielded a three-company infantry battalion with various support elements such as mortars and off-board artillery assets (although these last never were utilized). Although outnumbered significantly, the Germans have the advantage of very close terrain. I opted to take the German force, which in retrospect may have been only the first of my many mistakes! I had several options for deployment in the face of the Americans crossing the river (seen at the top of the photo above). I was able to deploy anywhere up to the river (right in the face of the American deployment on the other side of the river). I saw that the close terrain could allow me to defend in depth and perform a continuous fire and retire movement with my infantry, hopefully wearing down the attackers and drawing them back onto the fire of the Pak40. A completely sensible option, no? Given the disparity in numbers and the terrain? Absolutely! And that's probably why the wiring in my brain immediately discounted that option. Instead, I decided that I'd deploy my entire force (less the command element) on the two forward hills and pound the Americans as they crossed the river and began to deploy on my side of it. Maybe he wouldn't be expecting it! Well, it seemed not to matter.

The Americans have crossed the river and are starting to pour fire into the German infantry on the hill opposite.

My MMG did surprise him but with only minimal effect. One infantry company fired at some phantoms in the brush along the river (he moved a dummy marker and I used opportunity fire to waste my fire on nothing...arghhh!) and the Pak40 caused only small amounts of damage as well. So much for my surprising barrage of fire. My next move (and the prudent one) was to retire and regroup and continue the defence. Unfortunately, I waited too long and my infantry was caught by he converged fire of the entire American infantry battalion. When I finally got my stuff moving back, there was precious little to move. The majority of my force was eliminated or rendered powerless in the first three turns. The Americans only had to walk up to the town, defended only by my battalion command (no need to elaborate on the outcome of that).

The game was a quick one (mainly due to my faulty deployment and subsequent sloth in retiring) but enjoyable nonetheless. I'd like to play with these rules more to get a better handle on them. In fact, I've bought enough 15mm figures to field a Soviet Mechanized Infantry Brigade. But unless I want to play in a Flames of War tournament with them unpainted, it may be a while before I get them on the table. Maybe Vidal could host a few more Rapid Fire games to give me some incentive (wink)!

My venerable American opponent, Shane, before the action begins. He looks as though he knows what's about to happen!

Monday, June 8, 2009

1/285 Modern

I have decided that I'm not much of a fan of modern gaming (meaning not the act of wargaming today...rather the genre of modern WWII). And I've also decided that I'm not a fan of micro-armour anymore. The second is much easier to explain. I'm just having trouble distinguishing the models anymore. I now have to wear glasses for painting and reading small print and seeing any detail on micro-armour is far beyond my abilities these days. I can still appreciate the quality of the models (especially the GHQ variety) but if I have to put on my specs every time I bend close over the table, well that just ain't gonna' happen...normally. My first statement is a little more difficult to explain but in a nutshell, it's too damn complicated. Maybe it's my growing need for abstraction in my rules and games and my abhorrence of too much detail. Maybe it's my diminishing capacity to multi-task. It could also be that I'm not a science kinda' guy (and you need to be able to understand physics and mathematics for modern gaming). Of course, it could just be that I'm lazy!

An overview of the table (6' x 8').

Having said all that, I played in a 1/285 modern game on Friday at MIGS, our local club. Normally I wouldn't fight the traffic on a Friday but my son was in town and I have few chances to game with him anymore so I took the opportunity. Michael has been developing a set of rules for WWII to modern gaming over the last couple of years called "C3I." He was using this game as an opportunity to play-test the rules with several of the club members. He's done a lot of work with the rules but, I must admit, they are not my cup of tea. I am not a big fan of I-GO-U-GO systems and even less enamoured of details. I fully understand that this doesn't make rules that have these qualities good or bad. They're just not for me! Judging from the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the other players, however, I'd say that the rules are well-received.

The major town on the board. Most of these are commercially-available resin models with scratch-built bases and custom made roads and streets (even with light standards!).

The game saw a small German force pitted against a Soviet force of three armoured battalions (with T-80s) and three mechanized infantry battalions. There were also various support units like artillery and anti-aircraft. I won't even try and list any of the vehicle types since it would only serve to illustrate how ignorant I am about this gaming genre. I've included a few photos here to show how great a job Michael has done with his collection and especially with the terrain. He's been working hard to make it look good and he's succeeded!

Part of the German force deployed and waiting. These scary-looking beasts received a lot of artillery fire at the beginning of the game and soon ceased to exist.

German infantry deployed, ready to pound the Soviet armour with TOWs. I've also decided that I don't like TOWs (very nasty!).

The Soviet attack developing.

The Soviet right wing prepares to assault the town. Unfortunately this came to naught when early on in the attack the Soviet brigade commander was snuffed. The assault quickly slowed to a crawl.

The Soviet left wing after running into a hailstorm of TOWs. Ouch! The smoke markers indicate brewed up vehicles and the blue smoke is a targeting marker (clever).

The master contemplating his domain!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

28mm Napoleonics

Unusually for a week night, I was able to squeeze in a game of Napoleonics. My eldest son is home from university and since he's an avid gamer we decided to throw some figures on the table. We opted for a French v. British bash since Michael had yet to play with a number of my new British units. We decided on a fairly even contest, just so we could push some lead around the table. It was tempting (as it it always is) to field some of the French guard but I refrained.

The French right wing advancing in perfect order (this would not last for very long, I'm afraid).

French Army

CinC: d12 + superior deck

1er Brigade
1/3e de Ligne
2/3e de Ligne
3/3e de Ligne
1/39e de Ligne
1/2e Légère
1/2e Légère
légère (sk)
Artillerie à Pied (6lb)

2e Brigade
1/13e de Ligne
2/13e de Ligne
3/13e de Ligne
Régiment Irlandais
1/2e Régiment Suisse
2/2e Régiment Suisse
légère (sk)
Artillerie à Pied (6lb)

3e Brigade
13e Dragons
2e Dragons
20e Dragons

4e Brigade
5e Chasseurs à Cheval
4e de Hussards

The British Fusiliers pressing hard on the French left. The French have retreated to the cover of a stone wall after being severely mauled in their initial advance. In this instance we saw red-coated Swiss facing off against British red-coats.

British Army

CinC: d10 + average deck

1st (Light) Brigade
1/95th Foot
5/60th Foot (sk)
converged elites (sk)

2nd Brigade
1st Foot (Royal Scots)
40th Foot
49th Foot
92nd Foot (highlanders)
Royal Artillery (6lb)

3rd Brigade
44th Foot
5th Foot
7th Foot (fusiliers)
23rd Foot (fusiliers)
Royal Artillery (9lb)

4th (Naval) Brigade
Naval Brigade
Royal Marines
1st West Indies Rgt
2nd West Indies Rgt

5th Brigade
19th Light Dragoons
4th Dragoons
1st Dragoons

It was a hard fought contest that saw a French advance have some initial success but come to a grinding halt. The French commander (me) was able to hit the British infantry with a one-two punch of infantry and cavalry working together but once the French cavalry had shot its bolt, they were bloodily repulsed by the timely arrival of the British cavalry reserves. Eventually though, the French were able to blunt any subsequent British advances and the red-coat losses began to tell. The British army decided to retreat from the field, not in precipitate flight, by any means, but in an ordered and stately manner.

The length of the field looking from the French right wing/British left wing.

If this had been a campaign game, the British would have suffered a minor defeat. They would have safely retreated with little harassment from the French since at the end of the battle, the British cavalry still on the field actually outnumbered the French.

Michael pondering the seemingly undeserved defeat of the British army.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

54mm WWII

21st Century Toys Pzkpfw IV in front of scratch-built shadowbox buildings

54mm may seem an odd scale to game World War II and up until a few years ago, I would have agreed. My foray into this scale and genre happened not by design (no, really!). Four or five years ago Wal-Mart was for a short period selling Forces of Valor 1/35 die-cast WWII vehicles for $20.00 CAD. These were the basic models with simple paint jobs and very few accessories. They're not as well-painted as the showcase models now marketed by Forces of Valor and 21st Century Toys. What they did provide were simple and effective models with moving parts and a durability not found in most gaming models (you can literally drop these on the floor with no ill consequences...and I've done it, multiple times). I initially bought a few of these models just to put on a shelf in my painting room; a couple Shermans, a US halftrack with the quad AA gun on the back, and a British Matilda in very cool desert camouflage markings. I soon found that Forces of Valor also made (and still produce) painted infantry figures to go with the vehicles. Once I realized this, the seeds of a project began to grow. In my mind at the time, this would be the ideal project because I wouldn't have to paint a single figure or vehicle. Now, granted the paint jobs on the figures are very basic but they suffice. Besides, I wasn't envisioning a project with exquisitely painted models on realistic terrain. What I really had in mind was more of a Pulp-style game, something like stealing Nazi gold from a bank ala Kelly's Heroes. In these games, I could see vehicles catapulted into the air and bursting into flames, which actually became a staple and consistent rule of our games: any vehicle that completely leaves the ground must immediately burst into flames. That's the way they do it in Hollywood, isn't it? The most real work I had to do on this project came in three stages:

1) finding and buying the figures and equipment (not work, really)
2) creating some buildings and other terrain pieces
3) hosting games (which proved to be more work than I thought)

21st Century Toys very cool little German motorcycle combo (this one's a bit fiddly and fragile but worth it nonetheless)

I began collecting figures and vehicles on eBay and from hobby shops. Unfortunately, Wally World stopped marketing the inexpensive models but I was able to find some good deals on-line. Much of collection now is made up of 21st Century Toys vehicles, and although these are very nice models, they aren't quite as durable as their Forces of Valor cousins. The former are made all of plastic and thus can't be dropped successfully. They are still very user-friendly, in that they can take a lot of on-table abuse. The figures were as easily found and I discovered that 21st Century Toys also makes painted infantry. It should be noted, however, that although there is a large selection of painted vehicles available in this scale, figures are a different matter. Only the basic types can be found painted (and at reasonable prices): US infantry and airborne, German infantry, British infantry, and some mortar and gun crews.

The giant bank built for a Kelly's Heroes-style scenario.

Making the terrain became more of a challenge than I had anticipated. Many of my 28mm pieces were utilized, especially trees. I like large trees for my 28mm games and these translated into smaller, fruit-grove-like trees for 54mm. The buildings, however, needed to be built from scratch. Fortunately, I have some experience in this aspect of the hobby and I set out enthusiastically. I found that buildings in this scale could have quite a large table footprint so I decided to try some shadow box buildings. These are essentially Hollywood-style false fronts that sit at the edge of the table and have fully-modeled facades with little depth. In fact, my creations are only 5" deep (you can see one of these in the photo at the top of the page).

Hosting of the games, something with which I also have some experience, also proved more work than I initially intended. The scale demanded large tables and large tables tend to attract many convention onlookers and gamers interested in taking part. So, sheer physical size was a demanding hurdle to overcome but I like the building, no problem. Rules, on the other hand, were a far more serious obstacle to success. I wanted a Pulp-like feel to the games and none of the existing WWII sets on the market were really designed for that. I thus set out to design my own rules (something with which I had, at the time, little practical experience). "Design" is perhaps an overly grand word for what I did produce. It was closer to Hollywood Kriegspiel than anything else. In fact, every time I ran a game with the collection, the rules were different and the experience changed. Basically, I made it up as I went along! To give some perspective here, I was once asked to present a 54mm WWII game for a wargaming stag party (which, by the way, is an excellent way to raise money for a prospective groom who is also a gamer). Attendees at this mini-convention were asked to pay to play in games in order to raise money for the groom and there was also a silent auction. I added another dimension to the money-raising efforts. Gamers were encouraged to bet money in my game to influence events.

"I didn't like that die roll that killed my machine-gunner, I'll pay $5.00 to re-roll!"
"Well, I'll pay $6.00 to keep the die roll."

And so on. I even had players paying money to move physical objects on the table to ensure clear fields of fire and their opponents bidding to move them back. Players would bid money to be allowed to do outrageous things:

"I want to have my sergeant jump out of the second story window, clutching a grenade in his teeth, and roll onto the moving armoured car, pulling the pin on the grenade, and simultaneously slitting the throat of the enemy commander, then rolling off the vehicle onto the ground, all the time smiling and keeping his hair from moving. I'll bid $5.00!"

I'm happy to say we raised $180.00 from that game alone!

These days, the collection gets pulled out once or twice per year for some outrageous fun. It never fails to produce smiles.

21st Century Toys Pak40 with Forces of Valor sandbags.

21st Century German half track and civilian vehicles modified as generic German trucks.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Field of Battle: house rules

Warning: The following is specific to Field of Battle rules by Piquet. I make no attempt to put any of this in context for those unfamiliar with the rules.

Over the last couple of years, I have subjected my gaming friends to quite a number of FoB games and a couple of Napoleonic campaigns using the rules for the tactical battles. I estimate I've hosted and/or played at least 150 FoB games. Over this time, we have devised a number of house rules and I thought it would be prudent to put these down in some sort of organized format (with some comments re: motivation/justification). I've noticed that many on the Piquet Yahoo group have come up with similar house rules, which at the very least helps to make me feel less radical. The following house rules are in no particular order. The more controversial among them is included in the Melee section at the end. When I say controversial, I don't mean among our group. In fact, it was one of the easiest rule conversations.

Field of Battle house rules


Skirmish capable units may change to skirmish formation on an even movement roll or a maneuver card (as with any other formation change). In order to change back from skirmish formation, roll the unit's defensive die type v. d8. If d8 roll is higher, the unit may not make the desired formation change.
Note: It's interesting to note that this rule is rarely ever taken advantage of.

Cavalry Opportunity Charges

Any movement within a cavalry unit's frontal 45 degree zone and within 12" may trigger an opportunity charge. The cavalry unit must not be disordered (or routed...duh...obviously!) and must roll it's defensive die v. d8. If the d8 roll is higher, the cavalry unit may not opportunity charge. If successful, move the cavalry unit to contact. If versus cavalry, move both units at the same speed (after the triggering of the opportunity charge) until contact. If versus infantry or artillery, the infantry or artillery unit ceases movement at the moment of opportunity charge triggering and the cavalry unit is moved into contact. When a cavalry unit successfully initiates an opportunity charge against moving enemy cavalry, neither side receives the "up 1" modifier for initiating melee.

Cavalry Opportunity Evasion

Cavalry may attempt to evade any infantry unit (or artillery, though unlikely) moving towards it in the cavalry unit's frontal 45 degree zone and within 12". The cavalry unit must not be disordered and must roll its defensive die v. d8. If the d8 roll is higher, the cavalry unit may not evade. If successful,the cavalry unit may make a retrograde movement at half speed, maintaining its current frontage or may make a full retrograde movement, facing away. Any formed unit or terrain horizon will stop the evasion move.
Note: This came as a response to infantry's ability to move directly to the front of cavalry and loose a volley with no reaction from the cavalry. We have not yet used this rule, so its efficacy has yet to be tested.

Terrain Horizons

Any and all designated terrain horizons require a unit to stop on contact, forfeiting the remainder of its current movement segment. Any remaining movement segments may then be utilized as normal. Exception: Skirmishers are not required to stop on contact with Class II terrain horizons (usually, light woods, fences, small hedges etc).
Note: In our games, any change in terrain counts as a terrain horizon, as do friendly units (which count as Class II terrain horizons). So for example, a formed infantry unit is 5" from a light woods. It receives two movement segments on a Move card. On the first segment, the unit moves to contact with the woods and forfeits the remainder of its movement segment (in this case, 3"). On the second segment, the unit moves as normal in the light woods (i.e. up to 8").

Battle Cavalry

Certain cavalry units are designated as Battle Cavalry and receive an "up 1 die type" modifier in any melee combat. Such units are designated by scenario, campaign, time period, and geographical considerations.
Note: This is lifted directly from Empire. I've never been a fan or proponent of the three typical cavalry classifications, heavy, medium, and light. Of far more importance, I believe, is a unit's capability of being used in the main battle line effectively. Just because a unit is designated heavy or medium does not necessarily make it more effective in combat than a light unit. French dragoons in Spain are a good example of this. While they constituted a French commander's sole "heavy" cavalry contingent, constant campaigning negatively affected not only the men but more importantly the horses. Should a KGL light cavalry unit be inferior in combat to a French dragoon unit merely because of an arguably arbitrary weight classification? Also in the Peninsula, we find Spanish "heavy" cavalry units that by all accounts definitely could not be designated as anything approaching battle cavalry.

Army Morale

In addition to the "down 1 die type" modifier for an army reaching 0 AMPs, the CinC's roll is also modified thus:

25% of units in army routed or destroyed = down 1 die type
50% or more of units in army routed or destroyed = down 2 die types

British Infantry

British infantry (1808-1815, excluding War of 1812) deployed in line formation may immediately initiate melee on an even movement roll and contact with the enemy.
Note: This is an official Brent Oman-sanctioned rule amendment.

Artillery in Melee

If an artillery unit loses a melee by any amount (even if only one pip), it is destroyed.

Artillery Facing Changes

An unlimbered artillery unit may change facing up to 45 degrees only and may never about face 180 degrees.
Note: An artillery unit has a multitude of vehicles and personnel deployed to the rear and making any type of facing change would be incredibly complicated and time-consuming, thus the lesser facing change allowance.

Flank Attacks in Melee

In order to recieve the flanking bonus in melee, the flanking unit must begin its contact movement segment with its center-front behind the target unit's front line.

Cavalry in Woods

Formed cavalry may not enter any type of woods. Skirmish cavalry may move in light woods but at half speed.

Squares & Movement

Infantry squares may move 2" per move segment. Movement must be in the direction of one of the square's facings (i.e. oblique movement is not allowed). A square may wheel up to 45 degrees on a Maneuver card only. Only infantry with a defensive die type of 6 or higher may move in square.
Note: There are numerous examples of infantry moving in square in the Napoleonic period. This rules allows the movement without making the squares into roving pillboxes.


Cavalry v. Infantry in line = infantry down 2 die types
Cavalry v. Infantry in column (2 stand frontage) = infantry down 1 die type
Cavalry v. Infantry in square = infantry up 2 die type; cavalry down 2 die types
Infantry in square v. Infantry not in square = square is "down 2 die types"

When a unit in melee receives "down" modifiers and it is already at d4, any "down" modifiers become "up" modifiers for the opposing unit.

Note: We have also been using another melee convention that, of late, I have begun to question. Rather than using a unit's Offensive die in melee, we have been using the Defensive die types (in melee only). This was initiated originally because of what we saw as some odd melee situations, particularly with cavalry. For example, a 10-4 Prussian Landwher uhlan unit is in melee with a French 12-10 guard cavalry unit. The Landwher initiated the melee so receives the "up 1" modifier. Both receive "up 1" for being in column. The Landwher melee with a d12+1 (d10 up 2) and the French guard are d12+1 as well (d12 up 1). Seemed a little odd. Landwher fighting on an equal footing with guard cavalry? Even if the Landwher started at d8, it would still be d12. A +1 on a die type is really rather negligible. It's not quite the same as a difference in die types. This is also why most in our group rarely use a Tactical Advantage card to give an "up 1" modifier if the die type is already at d12 (better to wait until another opportunity to bump a die type). If we use the defensive die types for the same melee, the Landwher fights with a d8 (d4 up 2) and the guard with a d12 (d10 up 1). This seems more reasonable and allows the Landwher some, but not an equal, chance to beat up on the guard. Now, we have no problem with Landwher occasionally beating up on a guard unit. We recognize that this happened historically and that this is one of the beautiful aspects of the Piquet and FoB system. But these became regular occurrences where clearly superior cavalry were bested by clearly inferior opponents. Occasionally? Yes. Regularly? No. The obvious problem to us with this amendment was that there would be no variations in the defensive die types according to the normal variable unit characteristics. This has not yet been resolved but the use of defensive die types, coupled with the "d4 in melee" rule explained above, seems to give satisfactory results.

May 09 Painting Output

I was a little disappointed by my lack of painting production for May. The disappointment is tempered somewhat, however, by the other hobby things I accomplished that probably contributed to my lower painting output. Finishing bases and various little terrain projects or touch-ups take up a fair amount of time each month but aren't reflected in the painting points. So, for May I was able to finish one Napoleonic 28mm Spanish cavalry unit and two Austrian artillery batteries (photos of these hopefully soon). These gave me a total of only 28 points for May. This is compared to my projected 59 points (not a good investment, if you had put money on my estimate). For June, I think I'll be a little more realistic, especially given that it's now summer and much of my hobby time has been reserved for outdoor house projects and weekend get-aways. My current plan is to have finished five 28mm Austrian Napoleonic mounted command figures and a 14-figure Continental line unit for my 54mm AWI collection (note to self: I really should get some pictures of this slowly growing project on the blog). These two projects will give me 31 points for June. I was looking at some other bloggers' efforts and their painting point outputs and mine seem rather meager in comparison but I try and remember to keep it in context. Gamers paint at different speeds, with differing qualities, and for different reasons.

Carlist Wars Navarrese skirmishers from the collection of Vidal Bairos.

My Carlist Wars confederate, Vidal, sent me the picture above of his first unit painted for our mutual project. These are Navarrese skirmishers from the Carlist army. Once again, these are from the superb Perry Miniatures range. I can't say enough about these figures. They are wonderfully sculpted and quite easy to paint! As my part of the project, my initial force will look something like this:

Isabellinos (or Cristinos)

12 x line infantry (center companies)
12 x line infantry (center companies)
12 x line infantry (elite companies)
6 x line cavalry (lancers)
1 x artillery piece (w/4 artillerists)
3 x mounted command

While this may seem like a small force, it is intended for Sharpe Practice, a pseudo-skirmish horse & musket rule set. Vidal is building a similarly-sized force for the Carlists. We hope to be able have games that can be challenging and fun and small enough to be completed in an evening of gaming (while still imbibing good wine...and cookies baked by my ever-patient wife). Also on the horizon are some Spanish/Mediterranean style buildings, some of which I believe Vidal already has in his collection.