Sunday, February 28, 2021

Back to the Biblicals

After the year-end painting blitz to complete twenty Hittite units in 2020, no Biblicals have passed over the painting desk.  Well, that situation is about to change.  Lining up in the painting queue are at least a half-dozen units for my Biblical project.  Actually, the Biblical project seems to be expanding as scope creep takes hold with recent arrivals of Sumerians.  The Hittites are preparing for an expansion as more figures arrive from Newline Designs' recent January sale.  I digress.  

Today's entry is an eleven figure stand of Nubian javelinmen to add to the Kushite Egyptians.  Figures are Wargames Foundry and are nicely sculpted.  Their simple garb makes painting a snap. 
What of the half-dozen units in the painting pipeline?  Well, I see close order spearmen for both Assyrians and Hittites, one chariot each of Egyptian and Hittite, and two units of Sea Peoples.  

Other projects are seeing activity at the painting desk too including the last of the Renegade ECW infantry mustering out as, perhaps, the last infantry regiment for the project.

Later today, the rubber game in my three-game, AWI campaign with Matt.  Matt will attempt to bring his battered British back to Boston safely following its raid on Concord.  I will attempt to thwart his plans by ambushing his column on the march.  Should be fun.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Collection Size or Mine's Bigger

Collection size.  The question of collection size surfaces occasionally on the home front.  A package may arrive in the mailbox and I am asked, "more figures?"  Silly question.  When my wife looks at the stacks of boxes in the game room stuffed with figures, she often makes the comment that, "you have a lot of figures."  She is right on that count.

When is enough enough?  Is a project really ever finished?  Is there a relationship between collection size and other hobby attributes?  For answers to the first two questions, my answer is simply that it is too soon to tell.  As for answering the third question, let us see what the survey says.

In preparation for the 2020 Great Wargaming Survey, Jasper asked if there were any questions we would like to add.  Well, I had a couple of suggestions.  One question focused on collection size.  My wish was granted! When I sent the proposed question with bin sizes denoted as,

How many painted figures do you possess in your wargaming collections?
    Less than 100 painted figures
    101- 500 painted figures
    501- 1,000 painted figures
    1,001- 2,500 painted figures
    2,501- 5,000 painted figures
    5,001-10,000 painted figures
    10,001-15,000 painted figures
    15,001-20,000 painted figures
    20,001-25,000 painted figures
    25,000+ painted figures

Jasper may have thought my brackets were typographical errors and that I inadvertently added some extra zeros.  When the question appeared in the survey, the brackets showed,

Who has more than 2,500 figures?  How about a show of hands?  The difference between maximum collection size from the survey understates my suggestion by a factor of ten at the upper end!

For this study, only two attributes will be examined.  They are Age Group and Primary Interest.  Now, in earlier results, we saw that there is a relationship between age group and primary interest.  Younger wargamers tended toward fantasy/sci-fi gaming while older wargamers tended toward historical gaming.  As always there is a mix of all age groups in the "Mixed" category of gaming preference.  Since many fantasy/sci-fi games require fewer figures than large historical battles, collection size ought to reflect this tendency.  Similarly, with older wargamers having a longer time to collect and amass figures than the younger generations, collection size should show increases with age.  What do the data suggest?

Collection Size vs Age Group
What do the data show when examining Collection Size by Age Group?  To begin Figure 1 illustrates that the 101-500 figure collection size is the most popular.  What may be surprising is that collection sizes exceeding 2,500 figures are the second most popular.  This result suggests to me that there are a lot of data aggregated within the Over 2,500 bracket.  Maybe a reconsideration of collection size bins is appropriate if this question will continue into 2021?  Also note that the 31-40 age group makes up the largest component of the 101-500 collection size while 51-60 age group takes the largest share of the Over 2,500 collection size.

Figure 1
When the data are transposed such that counts of Age Group by Collection Size are examined (Figure 2) rather than by Collection Size and Age Group, we see that collection size tends to increase with age group.  About one-half of those surveyed age 61 and Over hold collections in excess of 2,500 figures.  Whether this result is driven by discretionary income, longevity, both, or something else is unanswered, for now.  

Figure 2

Collection Size vs Primary Interest
What if Collection by Primary interest is considered?  In Figure 3, again collection size of 101-500 figures is the most popular.  While the "Mixed" category of primary interest dominates the 101-500 size collection, Fantasy/Sci-Fi is the second most popular primary interest for this collection size.  Historicals shows up as a distant third.  Now, consider the Over 2,500 collection size.  Historicals dominate with Mixed a close second.
Figure 3
When the data are transposed such that counts of Primary Interest by Collection Size are tallied (Figure 4) rather than by Collection Size and Primary interest, what do we notice?  We notice that the collection size of 101-500 figures is the most popular with the exception of Historicals.  
Perhaps not surprising, generally, collection size increases as a wargamer moves from pure Fantasy/Sci-Fi gaming to pure historical gaming.
Figure 4
What are the main take-aways from this analysis?  
In 2020, collection size tends to increase with the wargamer's age and a move toward historical gaming.  Hardly revolutionary but an interesting validation of wargaming lore.

Given your primary interest and age group, do these survey results reflect your collection size or is collection size something best uncounted?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Another Project?

Okay, stop the laughing at the back!  Since this is only the very first unit, it really is too soon to assess whether this is a project or only a slight diversion.  There has been a lot of the interest of late in War of the Roses with either figures, rules, or games.  Given all of these temptations, it is a wonder I lasted so long before succumbing.

Well, I might have made it if not for Richard's L.'s enjoyable series of WotR battles using his own rules.  The battles have been great fun and each player commands only one Battle.  Since all of these games have been played remotely over Zoom or Skype, I have difficulty actually seeing my troops.  My solution was to build a Battle for my own use so that I could see what is what in my lines during the chaos of battle.

Off the painting desk today is the retinue of Sir William Stanley.  The figures are Perry plastics and putting the figures together was enjoyable.  Coming in at 52 figures strong, Stanley's retinue consists of three lines.  They are:
Men at Arms
Once another box of figures arrives, a second retinue is planned.  The Battle of Tewkesbury is on the gaming docket for the Tuesday game. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Guadalajara Redux

The battlefield
Photo courtesy Wargaming for Grownups

After the battle of Ebresa on Monday, Graham promised a return to Guadalajara for the group game on Tuesday.  Having played a Guadalajara scenario before, I figured this would be a replay of that scenario.  Boy, was I wrong!  When I dialed into the game, I faced a table completely dissimilar to the previous Guadalajara battlefield.  Graham assigned the Republicans to me while Richard and Ian split the Italian army.  Also surprising was the meager forces allocated to the defending Republicans against the much larger force of Italians.  Still, I would be defending so that provided some hope.

Another surprise was that the Italian columns would be able to traverse the entire length of the table on Turn One and attack the objective town before I even had a chance to respond.  As Turn One unfolded, I figured the game may be over before it actually began in earnest.  Could I make a counterattack to stabilize this unexpected situation or would all be lost before the battle began?  

To find out, please view the following annotated battle photos snapped during the remote game.  For better photos and more battle details, please visit Graham's battle account at Guadalajara Revisited.  

By the end of the battle, barely a single Italian was left standing on the field.  One of my battalions had yet to fire a shot.  What initially appeared to be shaping up as an easy and quick Italian victory in the making turned into a complete disaster for the Italians.  I compliment my opponents for their willingness to laugh at defeat.  Literally.  Ian and Richard were laughing by the end of the game as their forces were crushed on the battlefield.  Great bunch of guys!    

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Battle for Ebresa

Last Monday's playtest of Graham's Spanish Civil War rules focused on the effectiveness of off-board heavy artillery bombardment in keeping an attacker at arms' leg from a friendly held town.  The test worked as expected with my attacks grinding to a halt as my forces were constantly harassed by enemy fire.  See Graham's account of this battle at Testing with a Lab Rat

At the time, I didn't know this was a test and that I was a lab rat in his diabolical scheme.  I thought this a fair and balanced fight.  Nope!

Given that, I asked if we could replay the scenario again on the following Monday (yesterday).  Graham agreed suggesting I was a glutton for punishment and that doing the same thing over and expecting a different result bordered on insanity.  Well, we will see about that!

Following is a brief summary of the Battle for Ebresa wherein I commanded the attacking Republicans and Graham commanded the defending Fascists.  Each photo is annotated so viewing this series as a slide show is recommended.  White arrows show movement, red arrows show attacks, and yellow arrows denote retreats.

Graham's take away from this battle?  Don't let Jon play a scenario twice!

Graham's battle account can be enjoyed at Re-Running The Rat Run

Tonight's contest stays in the Spanish Civil War with a return to a scenario fought a couple of months back.  Up next, Guadalajara.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

1799 Grenz Duo

Before I really get stuck back into painting Biblicals, two more units for the 1799 project march off from the painting desk.  Yes, the Rivoli battle raging across my game table is still influencing what is seen at the painting desk.  These two units may be the last work on this project for a little while.

The first unit mustering out is one battalion of the Walaisch Grenz Regiment.  Figures are AB Miniatures and are very fine sculpts.  The AB figures from the FRW range are some of my favorites from AB.    
Next up is a battalion of Grenz Battalion, Walaisch 17.  Instead of the close order basing as in the battalion above, this time I base the grenzers as an open order or skirmish base.  Again, super sculpting on the figures and something unusual to field.
I tend to be ever so slowly working down The Lead Pile for this project.  Really but ever so slightly.  Piles of French and Russians to go but a dent in the pile of Austrian infantry is now noticeable.
Before I make the switch to painting Biblicals, the first unit in a new project will be coming out from the painting desk next.  That new project? War of the Roses in 28mm plastic. Already the first Battle of 52 figures is finished and awaiting its turn at the photo booth.  You know what? Putting the multi-part figures together was enjoyable.  Now, I await the arrival of a seemingly long lost order of reinforcements from Caliver Books. 

On the gaming front, this week looks to hold two or, perhaps, even three games.  Monday and Tuesday will see a return to Graham's Spanish Civil War playtesting while Saturday may see another F2F Culloden game with WoFun flats.   

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Culloden with WoFun

In my first face-to-face game since July, Kevin hosted the Battle of Culloden in 18mm using WoFun plexiglass flats.  Of course we exercised proper social distancing protocols throughout the three-hour contest and it was very pleasant to get a return to the table with an in-person opponent. 
The battle was fought on a grid using a loose variant of Commands & Colors.  Loose in the sense that there are no cards and no battlefield sections.  The game uses an IGO-UGO mechanism with each side taking turns activating a set number of units per turn.  

En Masse and when viewed from front or back, the two armies look terrific.  From a distance, one quickly forgets that these armies are flats.
Well, until viewed from the side when discerning what is what is difficult.
Kevin took the Jacobites and I commanded the Government forces.  After a couple of turns, the Government forces were advancing against the Jacobites across a broad front and took possession of the enclosures on the left early on.
Government artillery got in a few good licks early on and destroyed one battery from long range.
The Government Army spent the early part of the game coming to terms with the Highlanders whom left swathes of destruction in their path with every charge.

Having nine dice to roll with every attack, the Highlanders were devastating when most government infantry broke after sustaining four hits. Painful to watch my army being systematically sliced apart.
A pattern quickly emerged in that the Highlanders would charge two squares to contact one of my units, destroy it, then advance one square and destroy a second infantry unit.  If I could not come up with a counter to these devastating Highlander charges, I would likely lose this lopsided war of attrition.  My only counter to this carnage was to bring firepower to bear from my second line and drop them in their tracks.  This went on with most of the eight or nine Highland regiments fielded.  
While government forces tried to keep some semblance of two lines, the Jacobites were destined to press ahead and strike with their Highlanders in rapid succession.  My artillery, situated in the middle of the battle line, continued harassing the enemy as the lines closed. 
By mid-battle, the Government line had not been broken as it slowly advanced upon the Jacobites. 
Even though the battle line remained intact, the casualties mounted quickly.  In the photo below, all of the figures in the enclosures represent the Dead Pile.   
The Jacobites tried attacking my artillery with cavalry to no avail.
And then switched to attacking my cavalry on the right.
All of these attacks were repulsed.  By the end game, the Jacobites were fleeing from the field as government forces pressed in upon the rebels.
The rebels finally found themselves boxed into a small corner of the board for a Government victory.
Getting together for an afternoon F2F game was great fun after such a long absence.  Hopefully, the next F2F game will not be so long in waiting.  A refight of Culloden would be an enjoyable test.

Kevin estimated that about 1,800 figures were present for the day’s battle.  What do you think of the WoFun 18mm flats arrayed on the battlefield?