Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Really? A new project?

So, what's been happening? While Daniel has been jumping off on his Boer War project (see previous posts) and Phil has been languishing in his painting doldrums, I have not been completely idle. While in Quebec visiting Daniel over the Xmas break, I was able to see Daniel's progress on the Boer War. He's made some nice progress on figure-painting but, truth be told, although I wouldn't mind gaming the conflict, his attempts to lure me into painting and collecting as well didn't work. The Old Glory figures he's using are nice and his painting, as usual, is great but they don't seem to catch my imagination. Given my disinterest, the general conversation turned to what we could do as a group project that could satisfy us both. Now by group I should mention we meant at the time just the two of us (this has subsequently grown to include Phil but more of that anon).

We want a project wherein we could both collect both sides and get together two or three times a year to combine the collections and game. Given our geographical separation, two or three times a year may even be a little generous. But hopefully, the cooperative nature of the project could at least provide some painting incentive and maybe even some campaign possibilities.

Some criteria that would need to be at least partially satisfied for this project:

1) Small armies (or collections, more accurately): This one is particularly important for me since my painting output is lethargic at best. It would also mitigate the cost issue (although that seems always to have escaped me historically).

2) Singly-based figures: We've both come to like this option. It allows skirmish-style gaming and larger unit games using movement trays.

3) Colour: There needs to be some colour-based aesthetic attraction. While Daniel's Boer War figures are attractive in a Khaki kinda way, they don't really excite my visual senses. So, basically, little or no Khaki.

4) Exotic: It can't be one of the big gaming periods or genres. It doesn't need to be as obscure as the War of Jenkins Ear but does need to be out of the mainstream.

5) Figures: Obviously, there need to be figures available. Even better would be if there is an acceptable Old Glory range since Daniel and I just bought a new membership to take advantage of the 40% discount.

6) Ability to game large or small actions with the same collection: This is addressed partially by basing the figures singly but more to the point we're looking for a genre/period that would lend itself to small skirmish actions or larger unit engagements. Old West is an example for me of skirmish gaming that can't really be translated to larger unit actions (besides, Daniel already has an extensive Old West collection). We envisage figure collections where groups of figures could be used for 1:1 skirmishes with singly-based figures (say 10-12 figure groups as in Sharp Practice) or larger company/battalion-style games using the same 10-12 figure groups. It requires only a change of perspective (and perhaps rules, of course).

7) Research material (somewhat readily) available: I don't really want to turn this into a research project where I'm ordering rare primary resources from dusty archives. But a certain level of research and  learning is always interesting and entertaining. Are there Ospreys available to begin? What other resources are readily available? Campaign overviews, battle reports, uniform and organization information?

8) Variety: Not just in uniforms but also in organizations, battle types, even cultures.

After bandying about a few possibilities, we finally settled on....

The Boxer Rebellion!!
  • Small groups of European and Chinese troops in a bewildering variety: Italians, Russians, Germans, Brits, Japanese, Austro-Hungarians, USMC, naval landing parties, river gunboats, Chinese regulars, Boxers with swords and various sharp implements! Naval artillery, machine guns, Cossacks, trains, and Charlton Heston!!
  • Old Glory has a nice range that covers most (if not all) of the European powers and the Chinese and Boxers. Uniforms come in a great variety of colours from the white and green of the Russians to the red and blue of the Japanese (not to mention the red, black and yellow of the Boxers!).
  • Small skirmish actions (in and about the Legation Quarter in Peking...see 55 Days at Peking with Charlton Heston as incentive!) and larger actions involving the relief forces moving towards Peking.
  • Gunboats patrolling the river while landing parties assault river forts with modern artillery.
  • Available research material inlcuding uniform info (two Ospreys exist and a fair bit of info on the interwebs too).
  • Variety in uniforms, organizations, battle types (skirmish and larger), terrain (urban Peking and open field engagements along the river), and cultures.
  • Did I mention the Bengal Lancers?
And to make it even better, it took little effort to recruit Phil into the madness. The first order for figures has winged its way to Old Glory and we've all been persuing the Ospreys.  More to come....


  1. I most excellent choice! I have a bits and pieces in 15mm. So far the Boxer and Chinese regulars, Seymore's relief column and some junks done. I have the figures but haven't managed to get the follow up contingents done!

    I look forward to seeing the finished work! What rules are you considering?


  2. We'll probably use some varaint of Sharp Parctice from TFL...excellent for character-driven small skirmishes.