Monday, March 29, 2010

A quick report back from the SYW Convention

Over the past weekend I attended my first SYW Convention, in the Tourist Capital of the World, Sunny South Bend Indiana, and I am fairly impressed with the whole thing. My wife accompanied me and I meet up with other members of the Minnesota Crowd, Fitz, the other Jeff, Brent Olson, Rolf Running, and Chris Combs and I think I speak for all of us a good time was had by all.

The drive down was uneventful, we dropped our "two" children off with Melanie's parents on the way down and made the 525 mile trip in three legs (To Melanie's Parents 200 Miles, To Chicago 200 Miles and Finally South Bend 125 Miles). I have to say the drive from Chicago to South Bend seemed a lot longer than 125 miles at that point. Fitz gave me directions for the trip home, 10 to 15 miles further (30 actually) and you skip driving through Chicago. Whether or not the drive was longer, that route seemed MUCH MUCH longer as there was absolutely nothing to see but flatland in IL, on the plus side virtually No tolls on the way home.

Of course the tourist capital of the world didn't really leave much for my wife to do while I was playing with little toy soldiers. She visited the College Football Hall of Fame, The Studebaker Museum, (A bear in his Natural Habitat), the Oliver House, and about six trips to the Fiddler's Hearth (one of four Bars in South Bend). However as a guy who grew up in a small town, it seemed eerie to walk around South Bend because there was never anyone on the streets. I do have to recommend Tom's Café for breakfast, $11 for both Melanie's and my breakfast was well worth the price since neither of us could finish our meal there was too much food.

I participated in both of Jim Purky and Bill Protz BAR games (the assault on Leuthen Church and Mollowitz) and kibitzed a number of other games. Many games had a great look to them, but I will be honest there is little chance I would be pushing figures in their games, and to be more honest I have to wonder if the scenario designer flunked scenario design 101 as I spent several long minutes scratching my head. Example, a 12 x 6 table, a game for 12 players, game played on a corner of the table using maybe 16 sq feet (8' x 4' triangle) because the center of the table had a 24 square feet of impassible terrain (dense wood). When I asked the scenario designer… "well um we didn't play test it specifically but we thought player might want to use the rest of the board."

Jeff Knudsen's game of "Paper Ships and Portly Men" was spectacular, except the players were Portly, funny thing at a gaming convention. The Swedes/Ottomans vs. Russian game by Panzeri was intriguing, the 10mm game had an okay look, A cow Too Far (skirmish Game) looked like a hoot.

On the down side my camera and I had a disagreement on it function at the convention. Most of my pictures are unusable as they somehow got over exposed (the shutter speed slowed down because the room was not the bright place on the planet and what I was focusing on was too far away for the flash, so it tried to be helpful.

We already are discussing plans for next year convention (Mar 25, 26, 2011) hopefully at the same location. We have already had some discussion about running the battle of Krefeld, Ottomans vs. Russians game AS WELL AS a potential Battle in the Wars of the Jumbled Alliances all using Koenig Krieg (2nd Edition). Additional the plans for BAR locally have been pushed and discussed. Fitz and I will be flipping a coin to see which one of us (the Prussian Players) is going to be Freddie, Brent has some figures already, Chris is painting the Swabian Circle, and Tom is painting Austrians.

I'll be posting a detailed battle report for the two BAR games later this week (hopefully with some pictures).

Monday, March 15, 2010

American Civil War – in 25mm

After years of debating what to do with all those 25mm American Civil War I picked up for better or worse I have finalized a plan.

I have decided to mount 3 figures on a 1 ½ inch square base with five bases to a typical battalion/regiment, thus one stand represents about 100 men. Putting 4 or 5 of these battalions together with a mounted colonel and a stand of artillery will than represent a brigade.

Due to the fact I have so many figures I gave Jim a bag of the Union's Irish Brigade (II Corps, 1st Division, 2nd Brigade), Keith a bag of VI Union Corps, and Joe Knight a bag with figures from the XI Corps. They will need to add a second bag to complete their brigades, but it should be fairly cheap ($30 to get everything they need). I then handed Tom Zwirn a pack of like 100 Confederate Figures and told him to paint up whatever he want and hand me back the rest of the figures, which is semi organized for Early's Division of Second Corps.

I personally have painted up the First Division (Both the Iron Brigade and Cutler's 2nd Brigade) from 1st Corps and a couple of Brigades of Heth's Division (Pettigrew and Brockenbrough) as my commands. Or rather I had them painted up.

The plan is to use Crusader Games "Rank and File" with their upcoming ACW Supplement. The decision to start out with "Rank and File" is more about getting nice easy simple rules (Beer and Pretzels) that minimizes the need of multiple people buying the rules and HOPEFULLY minimizes the need arguing over the intent of the rules vs. what they actually say. Of course with so many rules I wanted to avoid (cough Johnny Reb III cough) this was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated when I bought the figures. The fact that Crusaders rules aren't going to cost me big dollars and have a decent print quality to them didn't hurt either. I should add I don't think these rules are perfect, rather I think these rules will allow us to get started and really debate what we want to do as a group.

My goal is to get a couple of games run in 25mm later this summer and decide upon the level of interest and how much effort people want to put into the period. For me, since I already own the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in 15mm at 1 stand = 100 men I really um undecided upon how much effort I want to put into it. I am thinking about re-organizing the ANV as 1:150 per base for Fire and Fury and selling off the extras, IE Basic Fire and Fury using the proceeds to finish off the Union which I currently have about 1/3 of the Army of the Potomac. Since I am short Artillery for the ANV it actually might workout okay.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Saturday March 13th

On Saturday March 13th I will be hosting a SYW game at my place. The wife, child and dog are out of town so it seems like a good Idea.

The game, 15mm Koenig Krieg will feature the Thirty Third and a Third Coalition of Lunacy vs. the Sarcastic Alliance. Hopefully we can get some pesky Prussians to show up to preseve the Jumbled Alliances. My plan is to use the Waterloo Terrain boards, but I haven’t inspected them in over a year, so, be warned.

Game Start 11AM (That’s 10AM in Fitz Time).

I have heard from a couple of people already So I know there will be an Austrians, Bavarians and Swedish presence to take on whatever Fitz has in the box; like I said hopefully a Prussian player or two can make it, the Swedes burned Berlin for the fifth time last week and I would hate to think what happens if they have to switch sides.

I will throw something in the Crockpot (thinking BBQ Beef Sandwiches) for lunch and have a few Adult Beverages in the cooler, along with a few cokes and maybe even diet OR bottle of Wine if there is a request for it.

If you would like coffee, I have a coffee pot but no actual coffee so if you want coffee you need to bring some ground coffee and I can put in the pot.
Parking shouldn’t be as big of premium as it has been in the past.

The Wurrtembergs

I completed six of the 13 Battalions of the Württemberg infantry battalions needed for the Austrian at Leuthen (Seven Years War) in 15mm for Koenig Krieg. Fusilier Regiment Truchsess (2 bns), Roeder (2 bns) and Prinz Louis (2 bns) are done, leaving the three grenadier battalions and two battalions of Garde du Fuss, and two battalions of Infantry Regiment Spiznass.

The last battalion was tough to paint as Painting Prussian Freikorps figures (as well as Austrian Freikorps figures) is incredible boring monotonous work.
Two sleeves plus three dots of blue, four red turnbacks, cuff and collars in facing colors, brown muskets (and two hairs), light brown hair and satchel (plus one hair), dark brown for the remaining hair, white shirts, belts and paints and of course hat tape, bolt gun metal for barrels, chainmail for bayonets, flesh, and then any touchup work. I can do a battalion in 45 minutes, if I don’t spend 90 minutes daydreaming while doing it.

Fitz, hopefully tonight, will be handing me four battalions worth of Prussians to be Garde du Fuss and IR Spiznass, I already have three battalions of Prussian Grenadiers on popsicle sticks and primed so the Württemberg Army should be done in short order. The funny thing is the player we were going to hand the figures to has basically left our group, so I am not sure what will become of this Army.