Saturday, January 30, 2021

French Artillery for the 1799 Project

A few more additions to the 1799 project roll off the workbench before painting attention is diverted to another project.  Seems like January saw more than its fair share of 18mm painting for the 1799 project.  I am sure the Rivoli battle raging across my gaming table was a motivating factor for this concentration of effort.  Time to paint something a little larger, I think. 
Off the painting desk today are three batteries of French artillery.  The guns and crews are Old Glory figures from 19th Century Miniatures.  To my eye, these are good, solid sculpts which I find easier to paint than AB.  More Austrian and French infantry are in the painting queue, but for now, they must wait.  Up next, the workbench sees a return to the Biblical project with a variety of figures working through the production line.  Probably the return to painting Biblicals was helped by a couple of orders arriving in-house from Newline Designs in this month. 

On the gaming front, the weekly remote game saw a repeat of last week's SCW Three Bridges scenario.  We had two new players added to make a six player game with the original four taking up the same commands from the week prior.  The result was the same in that the Nationalists claimed a victory.  This time, the margin of victory produced a significant victory for Franco.  Also in a repeat of last week's game, one of my Nationalist battalions routed off the table at the fist hint of enemy bombers.  Sigh.  A very enjoyable game with a handsome set up by Graham.  For a battle report of this action, please visit, New Camera, Old Problem at Graham's blog.
SCW Three Bridges battle

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Two-Fer Tuesday and Game Updates

With the number of games of late and assorted other topics to consider, units are making their way off the painting desk at a rate faster than I can take the time to photograph them.  In an attempt to clear the logjam at the photo booth, two units from the 1799 project debouch from the painting desk.

First up, are a dozen figures for the Austrian Dragoon Regiment #2 as seen in their early bicorn.  Handsome figures from AB Miniatures.
Next off the workbench are a dozen Russian Cossacks from Eureka Miniatures.  
One good attribute of these Russian cavalry is that these same figures can make appearances in both the Russian SYW and Napoleonic armies.  These troopers will likely see more action in 1799 battles than SYW or later Napoleonic battles but one never knows when they might make an appearance.  
On the gaming front, plenty of activity.  The multiplayer battle of Rivoli continues and the battle is unfolding satisfactorily with all of the remote commanders issuing orders on a regular basis.  The battle has passed from morning to early afternoon and tension mounts as players throw punch and counter punch against their foes.  After seven game turns (3-1/2 hours of battle time), the contest is still very much up for grabs with each commander having to roll with the punches thrown.  I am enjoying this very much.
Hard fighting at San Marco
The last three weeks of remote Tuesday night games have included WWI aerial combat and two visits to Spain during the Spanish Civil War.  Battle reports for these three games can be found at Wargaming for Grown-ups.
SCW Week 1
WWI Week 2
SCW Week 3
Today's Tuesday game will see a replay of the SCW battle from Week 3.  Should be fun.

Friday, January 22, 2021

You Call Yourself a War ”gamer?”

After a break over the holidays, I return to analyzing results from the WSS' Great Wargaming Survey.  The start of a New Year ushers in a new topic. This installment examines Question 15 from the survey which asks respondents to rank what they like best about the hobby.

There are many facets to the wargaming hobby from gaming, painting, collecting, hanging out with friends, and many more.  Are we gamers foremost or do other facets of the hobby drive our engagement and motivation?     

Top Rankings - Overall
To begin with an overview of the data, the top three choices from each survey respondent are aggregated and presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1
When totaling the top three choices across all survey results, Gaming does finds itself in the top position.  The results are close, though.  Painting is in second place and not that far distant from Gaming.  From Figure 1, a definite break occurs between the top four choices and the remainder of the field.  Anecdotally, I frequently see "hanging out with friends" as a top reason for enjoying the hobby.  From this summary, Friends comes in at fourth place.  Research comes in at #5.  

Top Rankings by Primary Interest
As seen from many of the previous analyses, overall statistics may hide or mask underlying tendencies.  To dive into these contributing attributes, let's see if a gamer's primary interest has a bearing upon top choices.  Recall that primary interest is divided between Fantasy/Sci-Fi (ie. non-historicalHistorical, and Mixed groupings.

Figure 2 illustrates these tendencies by Primary Interest for respondents' top choice.  This is confined to only each respondent's first choice and not the top three choices as in Figure 1.
Figure 2
What do we see in Figure 2?  It seems there is a difference in favorite wargaming activity between primarily historical gamers and primarily non-historical gamers.  Counts for historical gamers put the top three choices as (1) Gaming, (2) Painting, (3) Collecting Figures.  Non-Historical gamers tend to rank their top three choices as (1) Painting, (2) Friends, (3) Gaming.  Those gamers somewhere between primarily historical gamers and primarily non-historical gamers (ie. Mixed) count their top three choices as (1) Gaming, (2) Friends, (3) Painting.  Each group presents a different priority grouping exhibiting some subtle differences between the groups.  What do these differences suggest (if anything) between each of the groups?

Top Rankings by Age Group
One result that remains consistent throughout all of the analyses on the 2020 survey data is that tendencies differ by age group.  Earlier work has demonstrated that age group tends to correspond to primary interest.  Does age group influence wargaming facet as well?  To explore this question, examine Figure 3. 
Figure 3
Are there any tendencies spotted?  One tendency I notice is that wargamers in the 40 and under groups prefer painting to gaming while gamers in the over 40 groups prefer gaming to painting.  Are the 40 and under age groups spending a disproportionate amount of their hobby time painting while the older age groups maintain sufficiently sized armies to focus on gaming?  In Figure 2, the graphic illustrates that historical gamers hold gaming as a top choice and non-historical wargamers hold painting as a top choice.  Given that younger gamers gravitate toward non-historicals and older gamers tend toward historicals, these results are consistent.

Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA)
Now, consider the interactions between wargaming facet, primary interest, and age group.  Considering only the top four wargaming facets (Gaming, Painting, Friends, Collect_Figs) from the analysis shown in Figure 1, Figure 4 illustrates these interactions given the survey data.
Figure 4
What does the Figure 4 graphic suggest?  Well, it suggests that collecting figures and painting are more closely associated to one another than to hanging out with friends.  Gaming is more closely associated to the collecting figures/painting group than it is to the hanging out with friends group but still somewhat in a neutral zone with associations to both groups.  Since these wargaming facets all cluster near the center of the MCA graph, primary interest and age group do not bear significant influence over wargaming facets.

While the clustering of collecting figures and painting makes intuitive sense from the perspective of individualistic endeavors, the separation between gaming and friends is somewhat surprising.  Intuitively, the clustering of gaming and hanging out with friends seems a natural pairing.  Perhaps, gaming is more of an individualistic undertaking than I thought?

Do these results reinforce your own rankings given your primary interest and age group?  Are your favorite facets of the wargaming hobby different from these broad generalizations compiled from about 10,000 responses of wargaming peers? I would enjoy reading your thoughts on these results.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

BatRep: Action at Barrett's Farm

Grenadiers give 'em cold steel!
photo courtesy of Matt at wargamesinthedungeon 

With the table set and troops mustered, Matt and I began another remote gaming session.  With the scenario specifics given here, the battle began. 

The battle report uses screenshot photos captured from my iPad as seen from my vantage point.  The series of photos contain brief annotations embedded within each photo.

Well!  This was a tense fight from the start.  The Rebels had difficulty bringing their troops onto the table.  When the militia did appear, sometimes, they appeared upon the British flanks.  In the early phases of the engagement, the rebels seemed to have the advantage given their superiority in numbers.  As the battle progressed, the quality of the British force negated this advantage.  In the end game, the cold steel of the grenadiers carried the day, discouraging all but the most resolute rebel unit. When the clock ran out, only the Rebel riflemen remained on the table.  Convincing victory for Matt and his British forces.  Still, the action seemed balanced overall with both sides having opportunities for victory and challenges to overcome.

The whole action lasted about two hours, I reckon, which seems about the right length for a remote game.  I enjoyed the game very much and hope Matt did too.  Oh, Honor Point totals ended up as 10 to 5 in favor of the British.  The Colonials have work to do in Game 2 to correct this Honor Point deficiency.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Action at Barrett's Farm, 19APR1775

photo courtesy Matt at wargamesinthedungeon

After a successful conclusion to a remote, mini-campaign using Rebels and Patriots, Matt and I decided we ought to give this concept another go.  With that in mind, Matt suggested I provide the scenarios this time.  Perhaps throw in an historical context as well.  That is what I did.

The mini-campaign will be set at the beginning of the American Revolution and focus on several actions around Concord after the march from Boston through Lexington to Concord. 

Scenario 1: Caching in the Farm or the Action at Barrett's Farm
Determined to deny the colonials much needed weapons and supplies, the British set off from Boston Common on April 19, 1775.  The target of this expedition was the town of Concord where supplies were rumored to be stored.  Included in the search of Concord was Barrett’s Farm a few miles beyond Concord where small arms and cannon were reportedly stockpiled.

The British expedition was composed mainly of flank companies from a number of regiments.  Some Loyalist militia were included to lead the way.  After brushing aside little resistance at Lexington, the British column pressed on to its objective at Concord.

Having arrived in Concord, reports were made suggesting that Barrett’s Farm was still an arsenal which included three cannon.  Elements of the British column set off to Barrett’s Farm, crossing the North Bridge on their way out of town.  Thus far, resistance had been little as colonial militia maintained a watchful eye on the procession as it made its way out of Concord.  As the column continued toward Barrett's Farm, reports continued to stream in suggesting that colonial militia were converging upon the Farm from other nearby towns to put up a show of force.

As the head of the British column approached the fields of the farm, one unit of militia was seen drawing up at the farm house.  Would the militia fall back upon the column’s approach or make a stand?  Could the woods to the south of the farm be harboring more militia?  The colonel of the column had orders to not fire upon the colonials first unless provoked.  Could these orders be maintained in the face of mounting resistance?

The Map: 
I provided a quick sketch map for Matt to use in setting his gaming table.  He turned my rough sketch map from this,
Barrett Farm Sketch Map (east at bottom)
into this:
Barrett Farm (south at bottom)
photo courtesy Matt at wargamesinthedungeon
Quite a remarkable transformation, no?  Gorgeous layout as expected from Matt.  Nice! 

The area shows the Barrett Farm and the fields surrounding the farm.  Since it is April, the fields have been plowed but no crops are seen growing.  Planting of some crops may already be in the ground.  It is about midday with plenty of time to see a conclusion to this skirmish.

The British column will march onto the battlefield along the road from Concord.  Alternately, the British could be allowed to enter along the eastern board edge. 

The Colonials have one unit deployed within the yard of Barrett’s Farm with more troops on the way.  Colonial entry is random as denoted on the map.

Supply caches will be placed randomly on the map, their contents unknown to either player until searched.  Six potential cache markers will be placed on the map following random location determination.  These six markers are labeled ‘A’ through ‘F’ and randomly and unknowingly placed face down so neither knows which letter identifies which cache.  The American player determines the location of the cache containing the cannons by making a letter-cache association at the start of the game.

Caches: it takes a British unit one action to search a cache.  After the action is expended, a player reveals the cache letter.  If the letter on the marker matches the designated cannon letter the British player scores Honor Points.

Firing the firsts shots: The British were ordered not to fire on the colonials unless pressed even though an effective British first fire may just convince the colonials to back down from their aggressive actions.  If the Colonials fire first in the encounter and cause a hit on any British unit then all Colonial units on board are no longer Timid.  If any British unit fires first in the encounter and causes a casualty then any Colonial unit within 12” of the target must make a morale check. 

The Action at Barrett's Farm pits a small, well-trained professional force fighting against a much larger colonial militia.  A real quality vs quantity contest where the British may be up against the clock to identify as many weapons' caches as possible while fighting back a growing militia presence.

1 x Grenadiers: Shock, VET (8pts)
1 x Light Infantry: VET (7pts)
2 x British skirmishers: VET, Good Shooters (5pts each)
2 x Loyalist militia skirmishers: GREEN (1pts each)

total = 27 points

1 x Colonial militia: GREEN, Timid (2pts)
2 x Colonial militia: Timid (3pts each)
1 x Colonial militia: VET, Timid (5pts)
2 x Minutemen skirmishers: Good shooters (4pts each)
1 x Riflemen skirmishers: Sharpshooters (6pts)

total = 27 points

+2 Honor if your company suffered fewer than 33% casualties.
+1 Honor if your company caused at least 33% casualties to the enemy.

+1 Honor for each cache not searched.
+3 Honor if your company caused at least 50% casualties to enemy.

+1 Honor for each cache searched.
+4 Honor if the discovered cache contains the guns.
+3 Honor for not firing the first shot.

Game Length:  Eight Turns plus a random turn extension of up to six additional turns.

With the stage set, next time, we see how the battle played out.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Impetus Warbook1

Impetvs is in its second edition. With that second edition, a rejiggering of army lists was required.  What this means is that all of the Army Lists in the base rules and all of the Extra Impetvs booklets are now obsolete.

Before Warbook1 was published, tips for converting Impetvs 1.0 Army Lists to Impetvs 2.0 were provided.  Those suggestions were welcomed but I hoped these transitional approaches would be fully retrofit to the Army Lists in the booklets already published.

Well, it may come as no surprise but when Warbook1 was announced, I ordered a copy of the booklet.  When the book arrived, I checked a few of the lists and found a lot of similarity between Warbook1 and the older versions.

One surprise in the book was the inclusion of the photo below:
Yes, I recognized this piece straight away since it is one of mine.  Of course, the photo is attributed to me but it was used without permission.  Is copyright meaningless in the Internet Age?  Now, I am still on the fence whether to be flattered or annoyed.  Is it really that hard to seek permission?  Had permission been requested, I could have at least provided a higher resolution photo.

Your thoughts?  Would you be flattered, annoyed, or under the realization that copyright is outdated and unenforceable in today's society?    

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Austrian IR#30 and Other Stuff

With the Battle of Rivoli raging across my gaming table, the painting desk is seeing an uptick in FRW units in work.  Coincidence?  The latest units mustering out from the painting desk are three battalions of Austrian infantry from IR#30.  While IR#30 is not needed for the current Rivoli battle, they will see service another time. 
These 39 figures are from AB Miniatures.  A quick look into The Lead Pile finds enough of these figures to field two more Austrian regiments in casquet.

On the remote Battle of Rivoli front, mentioned before, the battle is heating up.  An hour and a half in game time (three game turns) is in the books and dispatches from the generals are flowing freely across the battlefield while French brigades and Austrian columns collide.  Without giving away any more details than the generals have at-hand, below is the battle situation at 1000.  I am having a great time coordinating dispatches and translating orders to the gaming table.  There have been a few tense moments already.  The Austrians are driving hard from the west and north but the French are holding on.  In the east, the cork is still in place in the Osteria Gorge and the Austrian columns remain bottled in the Adige Valley.
Rivoli situation 1000
Austrian Grenadiers attack at San Marco
Finally, I take to the skies later today in a remote, multi-player WWI aerial combat.  Seven pilots are slated for the action as we fight for supremacy in 1/72nd aircraft.  I will likely be piloting an Albatros DIII.  Perhaps, it will look like the aeroplane below?  After today's action, another new set of rules will be added to my repertoire.  That makes five new rules played in the last two months.  Whew!   

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Painting Log 2020: A Year in Review

Figure 1
Time once again for the annual Painting Log review.

While the year limped out with only 67 figures crossing the painting desk in December, November overcompensated with an output of over 200 painted figures (see Figure 1 for monthly totals).  Unless I step it up, January will look much more like December than November.

As always, there was a unit or two nearing completion at the end of the year that just could not quite make it across the finish line.  These laggards will muster out later in the year.   Still, 2020 witnessed a very productive year at the painting desk.  While 2020 did not produce the largest productivity with respect to actual figure count, the year did produce my largest total in Painting Points as adjusted for figure size.   In summary, 2020 saw,

Total Number of figures painted: 1,412 figures and 44 pieces of equipment.
Total Number of Adjusted Painting Points: 6,076.

While figure count was down from 2019 (1,456 vs 1,630), Adjusted Painting Points actually increased by about 34% (6,076 vs 4,530) over 2019. That painting point count placed 2020 in the top spot of the largest annual total since I began tracking such things more than twenty-five years ago.  I've been tracking this for 25 years?  I know, some will think this madness. 

What do 25 years of painting log summaries look like graphically?  Well, Figure 2 provides a good indication of total figure counts by year.  Thrown into the mix in Figure 2 is the breakdown of yearly totals by gaming era.  While 2020 saw a large variety of figures cross over to the completed side of the ledger, Biblicals, with a concentration of fielding a Hittite Army, and the 1799 project saw better than their fair share of activity. 
Figure 2
When viewed from a Painting Points perspective, these 25 years look like Figure 3.  Now, the all-time high in painting points can clearly be seen for 2020.
Figure 3
With the variety of projects seeing work at the painting desk in 2020, which projects saw the most attention?  Figure 4 details that result.
Figure 4
As noted earlier, Biblicals and 1799 garnered the largest slices but a lot of variety is present.  This is a nice mix of projects and a blend that prevents me from becoming bored or unmotivated at the workbench. 

With respect to figure size, my 2020 painting effort was well balanced with about an even 45% split between 15/18mm and 25/28mm.  That is nice.  See Figure 5.
Figure 5
As I mentioned in last year's 2019 wrap-up, I did not believe this level of productivity sustainable.  Therefore, I set my 2020 goal to about 900 figures.  I estimated too low once again for 2020.  Given that the last two months have seen a huge increase in remote gaming, I expect painting time to decrease.  For 2021, I lower the bar to a goal of 1,000 figures.  

Having hit the Hittite goal of a new, 20-unit army in 2020, I plan to tackle a similar, new army project for 2021.  Of course, more Hittites and other Biblicals will make their way across the painting desk but I think another new Biblical army for 2021 is in order. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

French 7th Hussars in 1799

My thoughts return to the French Revolutionary period due, in part, to the upcoming refighting of the Battle of Rivoli.  Having the inspiration of the battle laid out on the gaming table next to the painting desk, a few units for the 1799 project are working their way through the painting queue.  First off the painting desk is the French 7th Hussar Regiment.  Figures are AB Miniatures.  The dozen troopers represent four squadrons of light cavalrymen.  Expect more units for this project in the first quarter unless I am sidetracked by other, more pressing projects. 
On the newly launched Rivoli solo refight, orders from the various commanders are beginning to flow in all directions.  For me, as an unbiased adjudicator of the moves and combat resolution, seeing the battle plans develop and their associated correspondence is fascinating.  Once all initial orders are in place, the battle can begin.

On the gaming front, remote gaming opportunities abound. New Years' Eve saw an Old School battle hosted by Peter (see Morschauser on Skype!).  That was great fun and another opportunity to meet and game with a friend in a far-off land (well, opposite side of the USA).  Yesterday, for the first game in 2021, play returns to Spanish Civil War in a test of Graham's latest work, Send Not to Know.  Battle Report here.