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Huzzah 2012 – Day 3

Finally the last Huzzah! post.  I hate having so much stuff that isn’t wargame related to do.

Day 3 this year culminated in the Battle of Dennewitz.  This event began as an idea put forward by, who else, Rich Claydon of Boston Trained Bands on the Black Powder New England Yahoo group months ago.  The thought was to play a large battle that board members would contribute troops for that we could use as a showcase for our outstanding brushwork (by ‘our’ I mean, ‘not mine’), show Warlord’s Black Powder rules in their best light (tons of models on a big table), and finally to get some board members fired up about painting troops that can be used in the once monthly ‘Black Powder Sunday’ put on at Adler Hobbies.

I promised to provide a Prussian infantry brigade consisting of 5 line battalions and an artillery battery.  I managed to actually finish 3 battalions, basing the last unit the night before the con.  Fortunately, other members weren’t so lazy and my brigade was fleshed out by 3 Landwher battalions and a foot artillery battery.

My brigade in their start position in the center of the Prussian line. The line battalions are Perry Plastics painted by me. Notice a problem with them?

Dennewitz showing everyone in their start positions. French to the right, Prussians to the left. Rich finished spray painting the cloth table top the night before the game, so I wasn’t the only one doing last minute work!

Having been beaten soundly by the Prussians the day before at Wartenburg, I was looking forward to sweet revenge today.  One of the great things about playing a game this large is that, much like a real battle, you don’t really know what’s going on except for the area immediately around you.  So I can’t give a good blow by blow of what happened everywhere.  I know that I faced two French brigades in my front with nothing but open ground between us.

The commander of the two French brigades was an aggressive type and he gave brigade orders to both units to advance on my position.  Thankfully one brigade failed its command roll and so did nothing on turn one.  This was excellent news for me as I would be able to deal with them one at a time.

One of the two brigades facing me advances, the other, having failed command remains in place.

I’m not timid either and advanced my brigade down the low hill they were on.  I faced off against the French to my front with 5 battalions having detailed one of the Landwher battalions to demonstrate against a French light infantry unit that had occupied a villa to my right.  My opponent wasted no time in hitting me hard, with his Frenchmen in their characteristic dense attack columns.

The melee begins. With supporting battalions to the flank and rear, one of my line battalions accepts a charge from a densely packed French assault column.

We each continued to feed battalions into the meat grinder, with unengaged units and artillery exchanging fire where possible.  We both held on with determination.  I broke two French battalions forcing them to flee, but my casualties were mounting quickly.  Before long my brigade was broken, forcing all battalions not actually engaged in melee to withdraw from the enemy, but lo and behold thanks to some supporting fire from Prussian units in the town to my left, both French brigades were broken as well!

The situation near the end game. My brigade has withdrawn to its start position except for two battalions still locked in melee. The French have been forced to withdraw as well.

At this point I felt quite good.  True my troops had been mauled but the French to our front were in no position to do anything about it.  I turned to the commander of troops on my left and suggested that if he moved out of the town and pushed the French, they would have to retreat and their center would collapse.  But, as I said earlier in a big game like this it’s hard to know what is going on everywhere.  It turns out the Prussian left had disintegrated early on and there was nothing on my left but broken units.  Since he was occupying a town, my compatriot was not compelled to withdraw, but he couldn’t advance either.

Just beyond my troops you can see the town occupied by yet another broken Prussian brigade. In the far distance you can see the last fresh unit on the board, a French cavalry brigade, moving up the middle about to sweep us all like chaff before the breeze.

All in all, another outstanding game at an outstanding convention.  I believe everyone had a great time; I definitely didn’t see any frowns around the table.  It’s a lot of fun playing in a game that you contributed to however small that contribution may have been!

Plans are already underway for next year.  I don’t think I’ll say anything about it here and now, but it’s going to be big.  You don’t want to miss it, so block off your calendar in May 2013 for Huzzah!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Convention, Feature

 

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On Thursday I placed an order from Architects of War for some Perry plastic Prussians and the Operation Squad rulebook.  The Prussians I needed for an 1813 campaign that I’m participating in; well, nominally anyway, I haven’t made any of the games yet 🙂 and the rule book I just wanted.  I’ve been after a good set of fast play WWII skirmish rules for a while.  I’ve played a couple of different sets at cons, and they all have their pluses and minuses, but what I really am after is a set of rules that is true squad level skirmishing.  Operation Squad promises to deliver that as it is playable with only 8-12 figures per side.

As I said, I placed this order Thursday and Architects of War, in true gaming god like fashion, got the order to me today (Saturday) via USPS.  If you don’t know Architects of War, check them out.  They have an ever expanding line of top quality products, and are nice people to deal with besides.

Once I’ve given the rules a good read through I’ll post a review of them.  Next step will be to paint up some 28mm WWII figures and give the rules a go.  Where I’ll find time for that in the midst of all the Napoleonic painting I don’t know!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Feature

 

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Painting Hessians…and an Old Guard Grenadier

So in my last post I mentioned a book I’d just picked up, “Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide” by Kevin Dallimore.  I’ve read the book through once and was impressed with the style and his techniques.  I’m not a great painter.  Painting for me has always been an obstacle; something that had to be accomplished so that I could play the game.  Lately though, I’ve wanted to try actually doing a decent job on my miniatures, but had no real idea how to accomplish it, so I knew I needed help.

I bought the book with high hopes, but low expectations.  I expected to find a bunch of fascinating, expert techniques, but figured they would all be beyond me.  Reading the book though, that seemed to not be the case.   In particular Dallimore’s “One Color” method is very straightforward and a good way to get started.  I had some 28mm Perry Old Guard Grenadiers in my dead lead pile, so I pulled one out and painted him up using the one color method.  I don’t have any photos of the process, but I took one of the finished product after a coat of gloss varnish.

Now you guys are looking at this thinking, “big deal”.  I assure you though, this guy is a large improvement over my usual quality.

Full of confidence I grabbed up six of the Perry 28mm Hessian musketeers I just ordered from The Warstore, primed them and got to work.  Here is one in process, with just the flesh and white bits painted.

Again, I suspect most guys reading this aren’t going to be impressed, but I am.  As I keep painting this group of figures I’ll take some more pictures of the work in progress.

I recommend Dallimore’s book without reservation if you, like me, have minimal knowledge of ‘proper’ techniques for painting miniatures.  For more advanced types, the two and three color methods and other ‘advanced’ sections would probably be of value.  Maybe I should actually write a review of the thing, even though it is already three years old and I’m probably the last person in the hobby to know about it.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Black Powder Underway

Well, kind of underway.  I placed my first order for figures to begin building my Hessian force for the Black Powder rules.  My local game store was not able to get the Perry Miniatures figures I wanted, so I had to go out to the web, specifically to The Warstore.  I placed my order last Thursday and was notified that they shipped on the same day; I expect to receive them this week.

I ordered 4 blisters of 6 figures each of Hesse-Cassel musketeers advancing at shoulder arms.  Twenty four figures are just enough troops to form a “standard” sized infantry unit in the game.  In addition, I ordered a blister of Hessian command figures.  Once these arrive, I will have enough figures to form one regiment.  Armies in Black Powder are typically organized into battalions of 3-5 regiments each for command purposes, so I have a lot of work to do (and money to spend!) before I have a force to play with.

I don’t mind too much about that though.  I’m actually looking forward to painting these figures up.  I’ve been working with 15mm figures lately for Flames of War, and they drive me nuts because of the small size.  Painting 28mm figures will be like a vacation I think; I haven’t done any 28mm in a long, long time.

Speaking of painting, I was introduced to a great book by my friend Jonathan from CWF Gamecast.  The book is “Foundry Miniatures Painting and Modelling Guide” by Kevin Dallimore.  I’ve read the first few chapters and am impressed with the book so far.  Dallimore gives step by step instructions for his styles of one, two, and three color figure painting.  He illustrates the techniques using various model types and he paints the same figure, a Prussian Fusilier in one case, using all three methods to fully display the differences between the styles.  I’m not the greatest painter around;  I’d say I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum from the greatest painter, but Dallimore’s methods seem manageable by someone like me and I’m excited to try them on my Hessians.  I have some unpainted Old Guard Grenadier figures from Perry that I’m going to practice on first.  If things go well, maybe I’ll chronicle the process here with photos.  If you don’t see any photos, you’ll know how it’s going.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A New Project – Black Powder by Warlord Games

I call this a ‘new project’ but in honesty it’s hardly new.  I first picked up the Black Powder rules at TotalCon 24, over a year ago.  I read through them, liked the open ended nature of the system, then shelved the book.  I was deeply involved in Flames of War then and lack of spare time nixed any idea of painting up figures for anything other than FoW.  That and the fact that my gaming group at the time was wholly devoted to Battlefront and Flames of War meant that any side project just wouldn’t get played.

I attended Historicon 2010 and had the opportunity to play in a massive Black Powder demo game that was sponsored by Warlord Games and the Perry brothers, all of whom were present to participate as players and advisers.  This was my first time playing the rules and I was thoroughly impressed.  Even on the massive scale of the demo game (I believe the table was 24′ x 8′) and countless figures the game played very fast and smooth.  This is doubly impressive given that most of the players had no experience with the rules, other than myself and a handful of others who had at least read them.

I hesitate to call Black Powder ‘simple’ because that word has negative connotations for some hard core historical gamers.  But, there isn’t a lot of nitty gritty detail to get in the way of the game, and this of course contributes to the system’s high playability.  There are of course distinctions between troop types, morale levels, armament and so forth, and when playing the differences between units feels right, but this is accomplished without the endless tables and stat cards of some systems.  I’m not knocking stat cards and tables by the way, some of my favorite games (ASL) are buried in them.  I’m just saying they aren’t necessarily needed, and their absence doesn’t make a game less worthy.

Part of the reason for lack of hardcore detail is the open ended nature of the system.  Using the Black Powder rules, you can simulate any conflict that occurred during the “black powder” era which can be roughly defined as the 200 year period from 1700-1900.  Clearly including all the minutiae for every possible troop type in the period is not practical.  And it is not necessary.  As I said earlier the system evokes the proper ‘feel’ and that is what matters.  You can certainly tell the difference when your militia levy  goes toe to toe with a veteran grenadier regiment for example.  And different weapon types are differentiated as well, rifles, muskets, rifle-muskets, breech loading carbines all have different characteristics that have a measurable effect on the game.

Recently, there has been a flurry of interest in Black Powder at my local game store, Battleground Games & Hobbies.   This has encouraged me to pick the game up again; several of the store regulars have forces already for the AWI period.  My preferred periods are ACW and Napleonic, but I can work with Rev War just fine.  A friend of mine has begun collecting figures to field a Colonial militia force.   Jonathan (CWF Gamecast) is known for developing a strong interest in a particular game, but having weak follow through when it comes to modeling.  My challenge to him was once I saw some paint on his colonials, I would place an order for enough figures for my first Hessian regiment.

As can be seen from his blog post, he is on his way, so I will order my Hessian troops this weekend.  More painting *sigh*.  Not my favorite part of the the hobby, but the 28mm Perry figures should be easier on my old eyes than the 15mm figs I painted up for Flames of War.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Feature

 

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