Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Afghans/Pathans for the Great Game

Off the desk today sees a return to yet another dormant project.  This time, three Afghan units for the 25mm Great Game project.  On offer from the painting desk are 2 x 15 man Afghan warbands (three stands each) and one gun and crew.  Figures are all from Wargames Foundry.
The Great Game project has been slowly percolating on a back burner for about five years.  The initial motivation for the collection was to field an army to oppose a gaming buddy's 1840-1850s British and Indian colonial armies.  With that goal, I began fielding a mid-19th Century Russian army augmented by Natives to use in The Great Game.  My Russians may have actually taken to the field in an action against his troops a few years ago but I find no artifacts of the event.  Only slight, fuzzy memories exist.  It may have been a dream.
Stepping forward to late last fall during pre-COVID days, Kevin hosted several Commands & Colors battles on a LARGE, tiled table with his 25mm troops.  The battles were set in the 1840s and pitted the British against Native protagonists (see Battle Report EIC 1840).  The plan was to continue these battles on a semi-regular basis with a goal of pitting my Russians against his British.  Both sides would likely be drawing upon Native contingents as well.  Before any of that fun could be arranged, I broke my leg and then COVID struck.

With the addition of these three Afghan units mustering to the colors, the Russians will be even more prepared to face their English adversaries when hostilities resume.  Oh, two more Russian guns are in the painting queue too.  Kevin, one day we can return to the field of battle...      

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Fields of Honor: AWI - First Look

A first look, twenty years late!
Fields of Honor - The American War of Independence (FoH-AWI) was published back in 2000 by Pinnacle Entertainment Group.  The American War of Independence version of the rules is a descendant of the 1994 Fields of Honor (FoH) rules covering warfare in the 19th Century.  Since the original FoH's publication 25 years ago, I have continued to hold the rules with much fondness.  Even though I have not played them in many, many years, FoH still represents a comprehensive and well developed ruleset.  Given this provenance, I was quick to buy FoH-AWI when it was published twenty years ago.  

FoH-AWI was unique in that it not only included rules and playing pieces for a traditional hex and counter game but also rules for use with miniatures.  While I tried the hex and counter version upon publication, putting the miniatures' rules into play did not occur.  Until now, that is.

As a brief overview, FoH-AWI has a simple turn sequence using an IGO-UGO mechanism.  The Turn Sequence has four phases.  Attacker movement, Attacker combat, Defender movement, and Defender combat.  For combat, a unit may either fire or melee but not both.

Each unit has a Quality Rating for each of Fire/Melee/Morale.  This rating has five values (A,B,C,D,E) and is independent for each of the three attributes.  Quality Rating acts as a die roll modifier for each of the Fire/Melee/Morale attributes.  The die roll modifiers range from +2 (A) to -2 (E).  With five possible values for each of three distinct attributes, each unit's characteristic can be fine tuned to suit the scenario or situation. 

With only four phases in a turn and a limited number of modifiers to consider for each of the Fire/Melee/Morale play is fast since the few modifiers are easily remembered after a few turns.  Attached leaders may add bonuses for Fire/Melee/Morale but may become casualties if the unit is destroyed.

One interesting twist to the rules is the inclusion of random FORTUNE and CALAMITY tables.  At the beginning of each turn, each player rolls 1D10.  On a '1' the player receives a Calamity such as Out of Ammo, Demoralization, or eight other events. On a '0' the player receives a Fortune Event such as Captured Orders, Inspiration, or eight other events.  The inclusion of events keeps scenario replayability high.  None of the events are game stopping.  

How does the game play?  Well, wanting a small scenario as an initial test, I reached for a scenario played several times from Norm's Two Flags - One Nation ACW ruleset.  The scenario chosen was Action at Mill Creek (see Action at Mill Creek) and transported back in time to the AWI.   

The British win this contest if they can place two regiments onto the hill and be the last to hold the bridge.  The Americans have positioned their medium gun and two militia regiments onto the heights.  Two Continentals foot regiments are covering the bridge and three regiments will be arriving as reinforcements. 
Let's see how it played.
British troops begin the advance upon
 the American positions
The Lights lead the way to the bridge
The Long Red Line
General advance as British take fire from artillery
The Lights splash into the creek
The Americans opt for HOLD orders (OP FIRE)
to wait to see the whites of their eyes
British right reinforces the attack
upon the militia on the heights
Colonial militia take heavy casualties as one regiment
scatters  and a second withdraws from the heights
British take the right most hillock
Continentals reinforce the hill
but perhaps not for long as the position is outflanked
Colonial guns deliver pain but the Redcoats stand firm.
Not able to stall the assault on the guns,
the guns are destroyed
Colonial reinforcements arrive pouring murderous
 fire into the British but success is short-lived.
With pressure mounting against the hill, a
third infantry regiment is scattered on the Colonial right.
With the American force reduced to 50% strength, I put an end to the bloodshed.  The bridge was firmly in British hands and the heights held two British regiments.  Given one or two more turns, the remaining Rebels would have been driven from the heights and likely the field.  Tactical victory to the British.

In six turns, the British were able to march up and blast the Americans from their positions.  The British dished out more than they took with only light casualties inflicted against the King's troops.  The militia got off a couple of volleys but the British line infantry were not shaken.  When pressed by regulars, the colonial militia buckled.  This battlefield trial seemed one-sided but was that pre-destined?  The battle deserves another go, at least.

The Events did not come into play in this battle.  It would have been interesting to see some of these enter into the game.  Perhaps, an event could have pushed the British onto a back foot to allow just a little time for the Americans to regroup.  One thing I discovered too late was the power of placing the Americans on HOLD orders until the British came up into range.  A HOLD would allow an American unit to interrupt the British move/attack sequence and get off the first volley.  Also to consider is placing Continentals on the hill and militia in the woods.  Perhaps allow the colonial reinforcements to enter earlier too?

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Last Samurai?

The Last Samurai.  Besides casualty and disorder markers, these sixteen mounted Samurai exhaust The Lead Pile of figures for this project.  I think.  There may be a few more packs somewhere but I did not see any on a cursory dig.  A few lingering packs may be several strata down and not be discoverable without a well-executed dig. 
Back to today's figures.  Off the painting desk and finishing my Samurai Battles project are 2 x 8 stands of Samurai cavalry.  As consistent with this project, figures are 15mm Peter Pig.  Great figures, everyone of them.  Easy to paint too.
The Last Samurai
With enough figures to field armies for solo battles, I plan to stop accumulation here.  Right.  Turning to the Painting Log, last count shows 725 figures painted for the project in 47 BMUs.  More than enough for most Samurai Battles' battles.  Yes, markers would still be useful additions but those can wait.

One of the last times this collection was on the gaming table was an experiment to try converting Impetvs to a grid/hex (see Impetvs on Grid).  That exercise was more than six years ago.  Where does the time go?  Anyway, I recall that being an enjoyable exercise.  Perhaps I ought to give this collection another run-out on the gaming table to see if my thoughts on Impetvs have changed over the last half-dozen years.  Since that time, we have new versions of Impetvs and Basic Impetvs to put through their paces.  

Even if no game is scheduled, once I clear off some table space, I plan to review what I have done with this project.  I wonder how many linear feet of stands I have?  We will see.

Note: The Last Samurai? is my 1200th post for those interested in such blogger administrivia. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sash & Saber Federal Infantry in 28mm

Today sees the mustering out of the last regiment for my one-off, ACW Federal brigade in 28mm.  The brigade is a one-off in the sense that I have no plan to expand the project beyond this one brigade.  When called up for duty, my force can muster 4x24 figure infantry regiments, four guns and crew, and two mounted officers. Figures are the very animated Sash & Saber.
Years ago when Sash & Saber offered up a half price sale, I bought several regimental packs of Federal troops with thoughts of augmenting Scott's growing ACW project.  Since Scott quickly painted enough figures to field armies for both sides, the urgency to field my own force was diminished.  With this regiment, I manage to finish off the last of my infantry for this sub-project.  To fill out the ranks, I needed to beg a few leftovers from Scott's stockpile which he unselfishly offered. 

My brigade has seen limited action in one battle (I think) but do not remember which one.  Will they see action in the future or are these fine Blue Bellies destined for retirement in the storage bin?  Time will tell.  Still, good to wrap up a small project that has been lingering for years.

Speaking of Sash & Saber, I have yet to push any of the FIW figures into the painting queue to see how they look painted.  I ought to correct this oversight.

Next time, I put the finishing touches on another project.   

Friday, July 17, 2020

Cycling the Palouse - Centennial Trail

Weather on the Palouse is warming and my mileage is increasing.  The last two days out on the bike have witnessed a change in my normal cycling routine.  Rather than heading out to the south and onto the Palouse, I ventured north in a 36 mile loop primarily following the Centennial Trail along the Spokane River.
Trail follows Spokane River
One highlight of this route is that once I drop down off the South Hill, the next 24 miles is along a protected, cycling/pedestrian paved trail.  Ah, the tranquility of no vehicle traffic once I reach the urban trailhead.  Sometimes, though, reaching this tranquil path is a complicated affair.  

Another highlight of this route includes a near aerial view of the Bowl and Pitcher rock formations jutting out from the riverbed in Riverside State Park.  Beautiful scenery among the bluffs, rock outcroppings, and big skies.
Bowl and Pitcher in the distance
Birdseye view of the park and river
Basalt outcroppings with river below
While this section of the trail is open for many of the miles crossed, the trail is protected by towering basalt rimrock.  With little traffic and nary a cloud, this is a serene place.
Trail and river recede into the distance
Basalt bluffs above the trail
After completing the 21 mile section along the river, it is back into the city as I wind my way through the downtown park.  With construction underway in both the park and one of the downtown bridges, a few detours must be negotiated before popping back out east of the downtown corridor to begin the six mile climb back home.
Lower Spokane Falls
Riverfront Park
One very welcome addition to the downtown skyline is the completion of a suspension bridge that crosses over the many railroad tracks that cut through the city center.  With the completion of this structure, one big complication for navigating from downtown to the South Hill has been eliminated.  Hooray!
Pedestrian/bicycle suspension bridge
Distance Traveled: 36.47 miles.
Elevation Gain: 2,101 feet.

To add a splash of summer color, the lilies are in bloom in the garden.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

French Infantry for FAW in 15mm

While the painting desk has been busy, I was surprised to see that no 15mm figures have crossed the workbench in almost two months.  Lots of 25/28mm figures have crossed over to the completed side of the ledger but no 15s.  Unusual.  Even more strange is that the 15mm 1859 project has seen no progress in about five months.  I suppose that once a project reaches enough figures to field large battles, no urgent need for more figures.  Combined with no FtF gaming, urgency for more figures slides even farther down the list.  
Inactivity changes today with a regiment of French line infantry.  These 3 x 12 figure battalions are from Lancashire Games.  As mentioned many times before, these marching French are among my favorite figures from Lancashire.  To maintain a little momentum on the 15mm front, a second such regiment is nearing completion.  "Nearing completion" and "Second" downplay the heartbreak of this second unit.  The unit to emerge next was actually the first unit put into the painting queue following the long, project hiatus.  When I based them, I grabbed the wrong size of base.  Not noticing my error until this morning when I placed them in the photo booth alongside the unit displayed here, I discovered my error too late.  Sigh.  Rework.  I really hate it!    
Also off the workbench are two skirmisher stands for the 28mm Peninsular War project.  When I tackled the Great Skirmish Rebasing Project earlier (see Skirmish Reorg), two battalions were left out of this process.  Today, a battalion each of Baden and Polish infantry receives its complement of skirmishers.

This morning I have a little rebasing to do.  Excuse me...

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Gunslinger in 54mm

Well, I planned to share two bases of skirmishers for the 28mm Peninsular War project but became sidetracked.  What caught my eye was an unpainted, 54mm gunslinger in pewter from Tin Soldier.  I painted a 54mm Landsknecht (see Landsknecht) years ago and never proceeded to paint any more of the figures.  This week, I remedied the situation and put the gunslinger model into the painting queue.
This fellow is a gunslinger in sombrero packing two six guns.  Serious looking hombre, I think, and posed for action.  Sculpting is very fine with superb detailing.  
Gunfighting in 54mm sounds fun, doesn't it?  I would need to find a few additional figures to pull that off but I have a start.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hittites: The Gathering

As promised, this post provides an amalgamated review of the Hittite Army completed this week.  The twelve units (BMUs) for either Impetvs or To the Strongest! came in far ahead of schedule.  While I allowed myself a leisurely pace of twelve BMUs for 2020 or on average one per month, this project was started and completed in almost exactly three months.
12 BMU Hittite Army
The 12-BMU army contains the following elements:
3 x heavy chariots
2 x light chariots
2 x heavy infantry with spear
2 x bowmen
3 x light infantry with javelin
The army is a mix of Newline Designs and Wargames Foundry figures.  Of interest is that the Wargames Foundry chariots are the smaller two-crew chariots on right of the battle line and the Newline Designs chariots are the larger and heavier three-crew carts deployed on the left.
With the goal completed ahead of schedule and with about six months remaining in the year, I accept Peter's (Gonsalvo's) challenge.  The challenge is to field another six BMUs and increase my original goal by 50%.  Tackling an additional six elements puts me back into the one BMU per month mode which is, as seen by this example, attainable. 
What can be expected for these half-dozen units?  Well, sufficient figures linger in The Lead Pile to field the following six units:
3 x light chariots
1 x heavy infantry with spear
2 x bowmen

A quick rummage through the bins and count suggests I could also field,
2 x light chariots
1 x heavy infantry with spear
2 x light infantry with javelin 
With no gaming beyond a little bit of solo board wargaming, painting has occupied my hobby time.  Given this focus, units are stacking up at the photo booth.  Next time, two skirmisher stands for the 28mm Peninsular War project as I clean up a few loose ends.