Category Archives: Wargaming

NQSYW Artillerymen

Rob Dean

Inspired by the recent games, I have been painting an artillery crew for one of the minor NQSYW countries, Hesse-Hattemstadt. Some years ago, we collected the remnants of someone else’s 40mm imagi-nations project from the flea market at Cold Wars. My son and I added a number of figures to each of the armies in 2012 and 2013, but got away from that as priorities shifted. We added a red-coated artillery crew for the other country from that group as part of that effort, but these figures had remained stubbornly on the “to-do” list…until this month.

via The Sharp End of the Brush
from Tumblr


Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Mark A. Morin

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy.  I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!

The game scenario is:

After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.

The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose.  Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring.  The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles.  The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn.  The casualties were:

  • Allies – 5 vehicles:
    • UK – 3 vehicles:
      • 2 Daimler Dingoes
      • 1 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference.  Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.  

I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:

  • Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
    • A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
    • A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop.  If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
    • Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point.  This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important.  (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
  • Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!

Thanks again to the all of the players.  And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action.  However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s.   Sorry my Swedish friend!

Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible.  Thanks for looking!


from Mark A. Morin
from Tumblr

The Campaign Season Opens (NQSYW Battle reports)

Rob Dean

As mentioned previously, Chris Palmer and I got together for a game day on the 12th of August.  His report on these two battles has already been posted, and can be found here.  For both of these battles, we used A Gentleman’s War, and randomized the exact orders of battle.  We then poked around in the book’s scenario suggestions for something that look plausible with the forces involved.  
I don’t think that I can sustain a full fictional battle report today…
My notes for the battles
The first battle, the Defense of Schepper’s Farm, used the Isolated Detachment scenario from the rules.  Both sides had six units, but the Schoeffen-Buschhagen defenders had only two of them (a battalion of the Adelmann regiment and a battery of field guns) at the start, defending the walled farm enclosure, while the other four (2 battalions of the King Rupert Jaegers, a squadron of the Szathmari Hussars, and a horse gun battery) formed the relief force, and did not appear until the first joker was drawn.  
Schepper’s Farm: The North Polenburg cavalry advances.

The battle opened with the North Polenburg cavalry sweeping forward in the center while their infantry slogged through the woods on either flank.  The Schoeffen-Buschhagen field artillery, emplaced behind the stout walls of Schepper’s Farm opened fire, causing casualties among the hussars on the near end of the cavalry formation.

Schepper’s Farm: Extended view of the action; defenders to the right.

As the North Polenburg infantry struggled forward, impeded by the woods and the steady fire of the farm’s defenders, the cavalry formed up on the unprotected side of the farm and charged toward the S-B positions.  Although the gunners managed to level a gun or two around and get off a last round of canister, the dragoons swept across their position and the last gunners fled.  The infantry defenders managed to form up in the newly introduced square formation, and repelled the horsemen.  As the N-P attackers reformed to continue the attack, the King Rupert Jaegers, arrayed for battle, were seen approaching the farm, and other S-B troops were also arriving. 

Schepper’s Farm: The Schoeffen-Buschhagen relief force arrives.

Conscious of the need to husband troop strength at the very beginning of what might be a decisive campaign season, the North Polenburg commander made the decision to sound the retreat.

Schepper’s Farm: Overview of table position at the end of the game.

After some lunch and a visit to the friendly local game store, Chris and I reset the table for a second game.  This time we started with the scenario, electing a deliberate attack to seize a strategic point, which we chose to represent with a bridge.   I took a force of six units generated from the garrison table (and ended up with a light infantry, three line infantry, and two guns), and Chris took nine units from the main force table, ending up with five line infantry, two guns, a heavy cavalry unit, and a light cavalry unit.  After deploying, it looked like the defenders standing in the open were a bit vulnerable, so I grabbed some earthwork pieces from the collection and put down a redoubt.  I split my light infantry into two detachments, one on each flank.

Schlegelsbridge: The opening positions

North Polenburg commander oversees the deployment of his troops

As the battle opened, North Polenburg cavalry advanced on their left flank, to be met by intense fire from the Schoeffen-Buschhagen guns.

Schlegelsbridge: North Polenburg cavalry sweeps forward into a hail of cannon fire.

Nevertheless, their advance concerned the 2/Adelmann commander, and he ordered his unit to retire to a more secure position.  Meanwhile, in the center, the North Polenburg infantry advanced bravely into a withering fire from the redoubt.  No progress could be made until an astute N-P artilery commander realized that his guns could be emplaced in an enclosed field in such a way as to enfilade the right end of the redoubt.  As their fire began to tell, the issue was in doubt…briefly.  The S-B guns on the south side of the river opened a long range fire on the N-P artillery position, and, with a sudden roar and vast column of smoke, half of the N-P artillery were eliminated by a lucky shot.  One presumes that a howitzer shell set off a carelessly deployed powder stock…

Schlegelsbridge: the 2nd battalion of the Adelmann Regiment falls back.

The North Polenburgers, though, did not lack bravery, and pressed forward with an attack on the S-B left flank.  Briefly driving the defenders from the wood and the left end of the redoubt, mounting casualties left them unable to hold the position, and, once again, the North Polenburg commander was compelled to retire.

Schlegelsbridge: The Jaegers defend the woods at the S-B left flank.

As Chris notes in his battle report, perhaps this would have been better balanced if the redoubt had been rated as a little less sturdy, but he came close to clearing it, so I suspect that another unit, or perhaps two, would have given a fully balanced scenario.

I am hope that a rematch will come soon.  It has been a great pleasure to see these forces on the table again, and we have been enjoying the rules a lot.  I am considering some sort of formal but simple campaign system, but more about that when it actually occurs…

via The Sharp End of the Brush
from Tumblr

Dreadmere Townsfolk, Crone: Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

   This past week I painted the Dreadmere Townsfolk, Crone, from the Bones 4 Dreadmere Expansion.
    I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it.  I then glued the figure to a black-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued him to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmers glue.

     I began by painting the face, arms, and legs with an unnamed Reaper MSP Sample Paint. (Christened “Valkyrie Cheekbone” on the Facebook page.)  I then painted the skirt with Folk Art “Poppy Seed”, and the blouse with Apple Barrel “Apple Maple Syrup”.  After that, I painted the shoes with Reaper MSP HD “Umber Brown”.

      Next, I painted her pouch with Americana “Asphaltum”, and her walking stick with Americana “Mississippi Mud”.  While I had this color out, I also used it to paint the entire base. After that I painted her scarf with Americana “Zinc”.  I let the figure dry for a while, and then gave the whole thing a coat of Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” wash. 
     When the wash was dry, I painted her eyes, and then applied a little Citadel “Reikland FLeshshade” wash to her lips.  I then highlighted her skin with some of the Sample Paint, mixed with some Ceramcoat “White” and added some eyebrows with Americana “NeutralGrey”.  After that, I highlighted her blouse with Apple Barrel  “Lemon Chiffon”, and highlghted her skirt with Folk Art “Dapple Grey”.

     Next, I highlighted the scarf with some Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”, and used some of the “Mississippi Mud” to highlight her shoes.  I then highlighted her pouch with Nicole’s “Brown”, and her walking stick with Ceramcoat “Territorial Beige”.

      I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

     This  is a nice simple figure with a lot of character, and was a nice simple one to paint.

via All Bones About It
from Tumblr

Science Fiction Armored Cars


Two armored cars. The top right is how the armored car looked (minus the mediocre paint job) before I started messing with them. The bottom left has a Tesla cannon.

At Historicon I purchased four armored cars that look like they came from bags of green army men.  I bought these for a dollar or two each with the idea of using them in my science fiction Combat Patrol games.  First I disassembled them and painted them.  The barrel (top right of figure above) is how they came, but they were separate pieces, so they were easily removed and replaced.

Two more armored cars with Tesla guns (or something)

I ordered two packs of Tesla guns from Company B miniatures.  They arrived very quickly.  Each pack has three different guns.  I put one type on the vehicle in the first picture and the same type on the two vehicles in the lower picture.  I was really only home for a day and a half from being on the road, so I didn’t do a lot of weathering.  Still, these are game table good enough.  I will look for some stowage items to add to them to give them a little more character.   I see these as “space Stuarts:” fast, light, okay gun, and armored with tin foil.  They will make good scout cars.

Science fiction troopers

I also painted a couple of science fiction figures I found in my box of stuff to paint.  (I try not to buy figures at a convention unless I paint the figures I bought at the last convention, so my unpainted lead collection stays pretty low — probably in the 4th or 5th percentile of gamers.)  The figure in the middle is one of the Aliens colonial marines from Woodbine that I painted a couple of years ago.  I don’t know the manufacturer of the new figures, but their armor, uniforms, and cameras on the sides of their heads are an exact match, so they may be Woodbine as well.  I like the robotic machine-gun a lot!

Each year I have been running a New Year’s Eve game for the HAWKs.  We start about 1500 and run until a little after midnight.  This gives me plenty of beauty sleep and allows those inclined to find wilder parties for the rest of the night.  This may be our last year hosting the New Year’s Eve gala.  I am thinking of running a 6′ x 20′ science fiction Combat Patrol™ game as one of the two main events.  I have been collecting and painting science fiction figures for several years, and I need to get them on the table.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

More Cars for Mad Maximillian


I have compared Gasland and Mad Maximillian for armed car racing.  I like Mad Maximillian better; although, the rules writing is somewhat cryptic.  I have all the Eureka Mad Max cars painted up, and I ran the game at a club night some months ago.  I need to try to run it again one of these days.

Right before Historicon, I ordered the set of jalopies from First Corps.  I really like them.  They didn’t come with weapons, so I had to add some.  For some reason, the tan piece of board I used to take these photos goofed up the white balance, so you don’t get to see the right colors, but they look okay anyway.

The monocycle from First Corps

This car is copper colored. I swapped out the head with a Hydra Valkyrie head.

Two more jalopies

Three motorcycles, including one being ridden by a nun

I hope to run a game with these and my other cars soon.  I think I have enough now for each player to have two cars.

from Buck’s Blog
from Tumblr

Dreadmere Cart: Bones 4 Dreadmere Figure

Chris Palmer

     This past week I painted the Dreadmere Cart from the Bones 4 Dreadmere Expansion.
     I prepped the figures in the usual way; soaking the parts in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added and then rinsing and drying them.  When dry, I glued the wheels to tha axle so that the card would still be able to rotate on it.  I then superglued the Crate and Barrel to an unprimed 1"x1.5" steel base, and glues the cart to a 2" x 2" grey-primed steel base using  Aleene’s Tacky glue.  I then glued the cart to a tongue depressor using a couple drops of Elmer’s glue, and stuck the crate and barel piece to some bluetack on a pill bottle.

     I began by painting the cart with Reaper MSP HD “Golden Brown”.  I then painted the rope with Folk Art “Barn Wood”, and the metal work on the wheels with Reaper MSP “Scorched Metal”.
      Then, when everything was dry, I gave the entire cart a wash with Citadel “Agrax Earthsahde” wash.

     When the wash was dry, I highlighted the wood by drybrushing it with Folk Art “Butter Pecan”. I then highlighted the rope with Americana “Bleached Sand”, and highlighted the metal parts of the wheels by carefully drybrushing them with Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”.   Lastly, I painted the entire base with “Americana "Mississippi Mud”.
       I let the cart dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.    Then, when  the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to apply a sand mixture onto the base.  When that was dry, I used white glue again to flock the edges of the base.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

     Next, I worked on the crate and barrel.  The first thing I did was paint the steel base with some Americana “Metal Primer”.

     I then painted the crate with Americana “Mississippi Mud”, and the barrel with Americana “Light Cinnamon”. After that,  I painted the bands on the barrel with the “Gunmetal Grey”, and then did the base with the “Golden Brown”.

     Then, when everything was dry, I gave the entire assembly a wash with the"Agrax Earthsahde" wash.

     When the piece was dry, I drybrushed the crate with Americana “Fawn”, and the barrel with Americana “Sable Brown”.  I then added some grain on the base with the “Butter Pecan”.
      I let the crate and barrel assembly dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish.  Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.

    Very pleased with how this set turned out.

via All Bones About It
from Tumblr

Knocked-Out Tank Markers for What a Tanker

Mark A. Morin

With my having committed to multiple upcoming games of my What a Tanker© Normandy Breakout scenario, I wanted to have everything as good as possible.  I made smoke/blast markers with tea lights in the past that I have used in multiple games.  They are great as mortar and artillery, especially with 28mm scale stuff, but not suitably-sized for use on 15mm scale tanks as markers.  In the game, I wanted to be able to designate a knocked out tank better – and if possible – differentiate between a tank that was just knocked out (where the crew survives) and one that was both knocked out and brewed up (where the crew does not live).  These are important distinctions in the game, as I allow crews that survive to get another tank and keep their training and experience (and bonuses) as they reenter the game.

I also wanted to have a better looking tabletop where the tank wrecks are more visible and frankly more realistic smoke-wise.  My older smoke markers are good for artillery-delivered smoke screens, but as you see below, I needed an improvement.

4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
My tea light blast markers look great here…
1 current smoke markers
…but are way too big here – especially on even smaller vehicles.  Additionally, they do not stay easily on the vehicles due to their size.

I set out to create a new set of markers that would look better, stay on the vehicles, and differentiate between brewed up and just knocked out tanks.  As I use neodymium magnets in most of my tanks’ turrets and they are all similarly oriented in polarity, it was easy to devise a marker using a ceramic magnet as a base.  The magnets I used were small enough and heavy enough to stay on the tanks – even those without magnetic properties.  I used ½” ceramic magnets, #10-24 steel machine screw nuts, and more used ¼” (approximately) steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s broken fairway mower to build the core of the marker.  Making sure that the polarity was correct (markers that would be pushed off the vehicles would serve little purpose!), I used Gorilla Glue to fuse the magnet to the nut, and the nut to the bearing.    Then, I mounted the cores on screws and primed them.  I planned for 20 to be black and grey smoke for disabled tanks, and for 20 to be full-on flames.

After the primer had dried, I painted the flaming cores red, orange, and yellow with cheap craft paints to simulate a ball of fire.  Lastly, I applied gloss varnish to the cores to give more reflection.  The smoke ones just got painted black.  If interested, you can see a list of the materials I used at the end of this post.

2 materials
The ball bearings, nuts, and ceramic magnets I used.
3 magnet, nut, and ball bearing
The core.
5 mounted cores for painting
The flaming cores mounted here after red paint was applied.  Later coats would be yellow and orange to simulate a fireball.

For surface smoke, I went with pillow batting cut off in thin strips of 1-1½”.  As each core needed 4-6 strips, I cut nearly 240 strips.  I hot glued the strips in a flower pattern on the cores.

2a materials (batting)
“Limited only by your imagination” indeed!
4 cut up batting
Batting strips cut before hot gluing to the cores.
6 after batting glued
Here are the cores after hot gluing the batting.

Now, I used a different product to connect the batting in a smoky shape.  As I have built tanks, I have used decals.  The best way to revitalize decals is to coat them with Microscale’s Liquid Decal Film.  However, using this product on the decals as they are on your tanks themselves can ruin the underlying paint (unless used over varnish).  But, this stuff makes a solid protective and nicely tacky coat – as I learned making placards for my Attack of the Warbots game.  I applied the Liquid Decal Film to the strips, forming the small smoke shapes around the cores.  I let these set up and dry.  The stuff worked well, and I got the effect I wanted where you can see the cores on the flaming ones.

7 after batting assembled with liquid decal film
After the Liquid Decal film formed the smoky shapes.
8 close up of ready to paint marker
Close up of the core after the smoky shape was formed.

When I paint fire, I like to go from bottom to top with yellow, orange and red.  Here, I decided to use glazes and inks for these colors with my Iwata Micron airbrush at 28 psi.  This allowed me to really blend the colors –  which were Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (a glaze), P3 “Blazing Ink”, and P3 “Red Ink”.  I then used two Vallejo Game Air paints –  “Black” and “Wolf Grey” – to create a smoky effect.  I also used these latter two on the smoky black/grey cores.

9 completed markers
A view of the flaming markers and ¾ of the smoky ones as they dried.  
10 using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
The new markers with one of the older (previously made) larger ones in back that I will only use as smoke now.
10a using magnetic tacky sheets for transport
These fit nice and snug on 4 Aleene’s tacky sheets in a 4-liter Really Useful Box.
11 Sherman comparisons
For comparison, these three Shermans have (l-r) a new smoky marker, a flaming marker, and the old large blast marker.  What you cannot see is how well the magnetic ones stay on the vehicles – and these are plastic.  The neodymium turret-mounted magnets and ceramic magnets attract well and effectively, which the larger one does not.
12 M10 comparisons
The M10 (Battlefront) on the left has a turret magnet, while the Old Glory type on the right is lead/tin.  The weight of the magnet keeps the marker on the Old Glory M10 very effectively.
13 light US vehicles
Even on smaller vehicles, these work well.  Here an M3A1 Stuart, an M8 Greyhound, and an M24 Chaffee are all well-marked.  The M8 has no magnetic turret, yet this works well here as well.
14 StuG G and Panzer IVH with knocked out markers
Some vehicles have no turrets like these plastic StuG G’s  – but the markers work great on the deck or the top.  The plastic Panzer IV H magnetic turret holds the smoke marker well. 
15 Tiger II burning
Last but not least, a Tiger II is brewing up.

I also participate in my Australian blogging buddy Azazel’s mothly painting challenges.  This month is “Awesome August” – and submissions were to be HUGE…or… as he wrote:

“If you really prefer to skip the biggies – that normal sized model that you’ve (ideally) done a job that you’re proud of converting or kitbashing, painted to the best of your ability. Remember, it’s not a competition – it’s a showcase – so your only competitor is yourself.  So, the TL:DR is that August’s challenge is to complete something big. Ideally, really big. Or something small that’s ideally converted – and painted really well by your own standards.”

I think that converting ceramic magnets, nuts, used ball bearings, and pillow batting counts as a conversion!  And not for nothing, I really like the paint jobs on these markers.  So, this is my entry for Azazel’s Awesome August ’19 Community Painting Challenge .

I hope that you enjoyed this and maybe got some ideas – please share your thoughts in the comments section, and look you can forward to seeing these used in my after-action battle reports!


  1. Magnet Source ½” “Ceramic Disc Magnets”
  2. Everbilt #10-24 Steel nuts
  3. Used ~¼” steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s fairway mower
  4. Gorilla Glue
  5. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  6. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  7. Americana “Primary Red”
  8. Craftsmart “Orange” (satin)
  9. Martha Stewart Crafts “Duckling Pearl”
  10. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  11. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish
  12. Loops & Threads “Classic Loft Batting”
  13. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  14. Citadel “Lamenters Yellow” (glaze)
  15. P3 “Blazing Ink”
  16. P3 “Red Ink”
  17. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  18. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  19. Vallejo Game Air “Wolf Grey”

Always love to get your feedback and read your thoughts?  See you next time!

from Mark A. Morin
from Tumblr

Gencon 2019 AAR

Rob Dean

It has taken me longer than I like to get this report written, but here we are at last.

After the usual months of planning, Team Dean started arriving in Indianapolis for Gencon this year on Tuesday, 30 July.  I wondered whether the airport would have welcome mats out by then, since they didn’t last year, but they did, on the individual jetways instead of a big one at the bottom of the escalator as they’ve had in some years.
My brother, a resident of nearby Bloomington, Indiana, picked Irene and me up from the airport, and we spent the night at his house.  He found himself up against the deadline with things still needing doing for his convention games, so he spent the evening painting.

The airport had the welcome mats out in the jetways this year
Wednesday remains the unofficial and trade day at Gencon.  Attendance is light, at least in the morning, but we were dealing with the consequences of a poor draw in the room lottery this year.  We had a hotel out by the airport and my brother wanted to park early, so that we could haul a handcart load of miniatures from the parking space to our assigned game table.  We arrived, therefore, around 9:00AM and had some breakfast.  We were signed up to run two Wednesday games, one being the Burrows and Badgers game at 3:00 requiring the hand cart, and the other being a warmup session of the Carcassonne board game.  We had none of the ticket holders for the Carcassonne game, but a wandering gamer from Sweden stopped by, so we recruited him and played a quick four-player round.  
The city was welcoming too
The Burrows and Badgers game was more successful.  We had five of the six pre-registered players show up, and could have filled the sixth seat as well, but the walk-in player also had a friend, and we couldn’t take them both this time.  We dodged the question of how to play this game in a multi-player mode this year by setting up three one-on-one games, so six seats was a hard limit.  My brother ended up playing the sixth position.  For convention purposes, I went away with a few minor lessons learned specifically for this game, about information I could have included on each players’ order of battle sheet, so a next effort will be better yet.  All of the players were actively engaged and required little referee intervention, both of which count as strong recommendations for this game.  I suppose I should post a full review one of these days…
Burrows and Badgers in progress

Two of my war bands clash in B&B
The B&B game took us up to supper time, so we deposited the packed up miniatures gear back at the car and headed out for a nice dinner.  William had arrived by car in time for dinner. We noted that the convention had basically come to life in the five hours we’d spent in the basement of Union Station.  After dinner we headed out to check in to the hotel and to await Norman’s arrival by air.
We got an early start on Thursday.  My brother and I were running a Chaos Wars demo at 9:00, for people who didn’t want to be part of the initial crush in the exhibition hall.  Four players showed up for this, and it was also a good game.  We had a brief break, enough to grab some lunch and plunge into the exhibition hall for a couple of booths’ worth of time, and then it was time to run B&B again.  I got so busy running that I didn’t take any pictures of the second session.
My brother sets up a Chaos Wars game

I wasn’t signed up to run anything on Friday.  Irene and I did two dance classes by Counts to Nine.  These ladies do historical dance (English Country, Renaissance, etc.) for fun and professionally, and we had tried and enjoyed their classes last year.  This was a pleasantly physical interlude between all of the mentally challenging gaming, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have on offer again next year.  We also wandered out to Lucas Oil Stadium to see how the gaming was getting on there.  It’s an interesting space.  This year they had the field lights turned on, so it was well lit, and the enormous volume dampens the sound, so it wasn’t too noisy.  Apart from being a dedicated walk from the rest of the convention it’s not a bad space.

Overview of the Lucas Oil Stadium floor converted for gaming
Since my second year at Gencon (and this year is the sixth consecutive), I have been signing up for speed painting (45 minutes, limited color selection).  You usually get a miniature and a brush for $2.00, so what’s not to like.  This year, I managed to get two sessions into my schedule, back-to-back on Friday afternoon.  One was a Reaper Miniatures round, and the second was a Wyrd Miniatures round.  As painters go, I’m a decent wargame painter, and couldn’t even begin to compete in the Gencon artistic painting event, but speed painting is pretty much what I do all the time, so I usually can hold my own.  In fact, I’ve been in a final round every year before this that I have entered, so I was hoping that I might be able to pull that off again.  For the Reaper event, we got a Chronoscope modern figure instead of a fantasy wizard, which was a pleasant surprise. I was first in my heat (of 16) for this, and once again had a seat in the finals on Sunday, and an extra miniature as a prize.
Reaper speed painting preliminary round figure

I don’t play any of Wyrd Miniature’s games, so I was curious to see what they might throw at us.

You have to love magnification

 Our figure ended up being this reasonably straightforward steampunk lady with a big axe(?).  I ended up second, which didn’t have a prize but did come with a seat in the Wyrd finals on Sunday.

Wyrd Miniatures speed painting preliminary round figure

With that out of the way, we could go out to the stadium for a meet-up for cooperative games with the host of Nelly’s Nerdy Adventures.  If you’re curious, we show up at time 18:00 in the linked video.  From there, we picked up the kids and had the traditional all hands dinner, and then called it a night.  The kids and I played a little Keyforge back at the hotel, before I crashed for the night.

There was more dancing on Saturday, and my brother and I ran the fifth (and last) of our games on offer, another round of Chaos Wars at 6:00PM.  The timing of this, perhaps, was not good, since we only had two players.

Chaos Wars second game

On Sunday we finished up shopping, and I sat down for my two speed paint finals at 11:30 and 2:00.  The Wyrd event was first.  We got this inexplicable figure of an old man perched on top of a demonic clock.  At least we had 60 minutes instead of the 45 of the first round.  I ended up third, so I got a prize in addition to the miniature.  The Reaper round was less successful.  We had a mechanical wizard of some sort, and my use of the metallic colors didn’t quite work.  I’ll get around to touching him up sometime soon.

The Wyrd Miniaturees speed painting final round figure

 Between rounds, the kids had to head out, so we gathered for a final group shot in front of the speed paint tables.

Team Dean on Sunday

Following the painting, the convention closing was rapidly approaching, so we decided that we were done and headed out for one final dinner.
Irene and I had extended out stay through Sunday night, so we were able to pick up a hotel shuttle back to the airport on Monday morning.  I was pleased to see that the gaming space was set up again this year, and the departing Gencon crowd was making good use of it.  Our plane was probably more than half Gencon returnees, so we were in good company on the trip home.  We finally walked in the door around 3:00PM on Monday; another Gencon for the books.
The airport’s dedicated gaming space

Everyone has a different Gencon experience.  This year, I ended up not actually playing any games except the co-op game with Nelly, and my shopping was quite limited.  (I came home with one indy roleplaying game, Companions’ Tale, and a solo dungeon crawl game, Four Against Darkness, from Ganesha), plus a shirt and a new dice bag.) While not unsatisfactory, it was quite different from previous years.  We shall see how next year’s planning evolves, but I am considering whether there would be an audience for some sort of historical miniatures game, and perhaps a seminar on how to get into that branch of the greater hobby realm.

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Second Crack at “A Gentleman’s War” Rules.

Chris Palmer    This past Monday I was able to visit with fellow HAWK, Rob Dean, to have another go at “A Gentleman’s War” rules by Howard Whitehouse.   We decided we’d make a day of it, and have 2 battles with a break for lunch between.   Like my first try of the rules, back at the end of July (See Blog Post here), we once again used our 40mm homecast Imagi-nation armies; only this time I was facing Rob’s Schoeffen-Buschhagen army, and not his son’s Wachovians.
     We wanted to try some of the rulebook scenarios this time, so we rolled for random forces, and then picked a suitable scenario (based on the armies we generated) for the first action.  Rob’s force seemed to be of a “Flying Column” nature, and mine was a more balanced Infantry/Cavalry force (though lacked artillery), so we settled upon the Isolated Detachment scenario.
    Rob had set up the terrain beforehand, in a pleasant countryside layout.  Now with a scenario in hand we did a quick arrangement of some of the terrain to create an enclosure for the Isolated Detachment to defend, and we were ready to go.  We made the mistake, as will be seen, of rating the walls of the enclosure as high walls and heavy cover
   On to the action:

I was immediately hampered by an inconvenient set up position, hemmed in by two woods, with only the narrowest of clearings between them.  I opted to put my cavalry in the clear terrain to facilitate them getting a quick jump off, and assigned my infantry the task of slogging through the woods.

Things got off to a rough start, as my cavalry, brigaded under General Grotsky, were slow to build up speed (poor movement roll) and quickly came under fire from the gun and infantry in the enclosure.  The 25th Hussars began taking casualties.  Meanwhile the infantry plodded along, emerging from the woods in a state of disorder.

The infantry now came under the enemy guns, and the Hawks’ 1st Company began taking losses.  The cavalry by this time had cleared around the enclosure, and attempted to sweep in behind them before reinforcements could appear.  The Hussars had been badly mauled at this point by the cannon and long range infantry volleys from the enclosure.  The sole survivor continued on with his brigade.   Still no sight of enemy on the horizon so the cavalry pushed on.

My infantry moves closer to the walls, and the losses mount.  Unfortunately, I do little damage to the defenders behind their well-built walls. The cavalry moves into position to strike, though they must move fast, as the first  Schoeffen-Buschhagen reinforcements can be seen coming down the road in the distance.
Bravely the first squadron of Dragoons charges the S-B gun.  They take half casualties from the canister fire, but continue on.  A swirling melee develops around the guns, and two more of the horsemen fall, but the gunners take casualties too and the survivor abandons the gun.  With one remaining figure, the Dragoons claim their hard-won prize.

The second squadron of Dragoons does not fare so well. The enemy uses a hold card allowing him to form square, and issues long range fire.  One trooper falls from the volley, and for the rest charging the wall of bayonets goes poorly.  The surviving horsemen Run Away in disorder.   

By now my remaining infantry reaches the enclosure.  One company has been destroyed by fire on the way in, and the second has taken 1/3 losses.   Hoping for a miracle, they throw themselves at the wall, but the results are inevitable. By now the reinforcements have entered the field in mass, and with my cavalry and infantry shattered , the one good infantry company prepares to form a rearguard as I call for a general withdrawal from the field.
    After our lunch break, we came back for our second engagement. This time, we picked a scenario first and chose forces based on the scenario.    We chose the Capture the Bridge scenario, and decide, from a narrative perspective, that it is the start of the campaign season and my North Polenburg forces are trying to seize important maneuver locations in preparation for a general attack.  I failed at clearing the important road juncture in the first game, so now it becomes vitally important that I secure the bridge crossing if I hope to have any chance at moving my armies quickly into enemy territory for my main attack.
     With a scenario in place, Rob opted to roll for a “Garrison” army, and I did a “Main Body”.  We weighted my army, as attacker, with  9 units, against Rob’s 6 units.  Then, after we had deployed, we decided Rob’s troops looked exceedingly vulnerable sitting out in front of the bridge without any cover, so we agreed to let him place some defenses.  Here again, in retrospect, this was a slight mistake, as we once again rated them as +2 Heavy Cover.
Initial deployment. Once again I am plagued by a terrain-filled deployment area, having to set up between a couple woods, and a farm.  This causes me to have to stack some of my infantry for entry.  I set my cavalry on my far left to try and take advantage of the open area, and the bulk of my infantry on the right in hopes they can swing around the right of the defenses. I set one battery between the two groups of infantry and the other on the left between the cavalry and the end of the infantry line.  I set one general to operate a cavalry brigade on the left, and the other to operate an infantry brigade on the my right.

My attack sets off.  On my left the cavalry pushes across the river, as the cannon on their right does a series of prolong and fire moves.  Rob’s light infantry and gun on his right fall back in good order as my cavalry advances.  On my right, I once again slow down as I try to shake my stacked infantry out into a line as they emerge disorganized from the woods and farm. My cannon with the infantry also does prolong and fire moves, but does nothing against the defenses.  Rob’s gun however begins to chip away at the Queen Jennifer Regiment in the center.

 The Queen Jennifer Regiment in the center continues to push forward, taking increasing casualties. The second company breaks and flees back to the woods.    However, to the left of the QJ regiment,  I have managed to get one of my cannons into position in a field behind a stone wall, where it has an excellent flanking field of fire on the enemy defenses.  Meanwhile, my cavalry has pushed across the river, but long range fire from their cannon, combined with an orderly firing withdrawal of their light infantry, has taken its toll on the Dragoons, who are reduced to one figure. Rob withdraws his half section of Lights on his right flank and send them to rejoin the other half of their unit over on the left, as my Infantry line begins to advance and nears the woods on the left flank of their defenses..

The 1st Co. of the Hawks Regt. finally gets close enough to the woods on the enemy left to charge their Lights.  The Lights issue a volley and flee back out of the woods. I capture it, but am disorganized. The Hawks 3rd Company has been reduced to a third of their strength under the withering fire as they near the breastworks; while the artillery accompanying the regiment continues their series of prolongs and fires. Meanwhile, over on my left, the cannon behind the wall continues to pound the flank of the enemy works, inflicting constant casualties on the defenders.  However, with the stalemate between my Hussars and their Light Infantry, their cannon on their right decides to turn and lob long range counter battery fire at my gun in the field; first one gunner is hit, and then a lucky shot hits an ammo chest and takes out two more in one turn.  Only one gunner is left to man the gun and his time is limited. 

Foolishly, I try to break the stalemate, and send in my Hussars. The Light Infantry form square, and the result is devastating on my horsemen.  

Things go poorly on my right as well, as the enemy Light infantry that fell back before my charge, now form skirmish and reenter the woods, a volley sends my disorganized troops fleeing out from the trees.

I manage to get my gun all the way up to their works, and a final point blank volley sends the defenders running away.  But it’s too little too late.  

As I try to maneuver my one good Infantry company into position to take the abandoned defenses. Their Lights form to defend them, and their infantry that fled thinks better of it, and is already returning.  My chance is lost, and with my troops too weakened now to press the attack much longer,  and the daylight hours fading, I once again sound the withdrawal.

An enjoyable pair of games!  I’ve learned some good lessons about heavy cover in this game, and the abilities of Light Infantry.    I think we had rated the cover in both games as +1 I would have had a better chance.  But such is the fortunes of war.
     We now figure my North Polenburg forces are falling back to lick their wounds, and that since my initial attacks have been beaten back, it is Schoeffen-Buschhagen’s turn to seize the initiative.  I must strengthen my frontier as I expect their reprisal any day now.

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