Saturday, November 21, 2009

Uexpected Trip to Fall-In Convention

Bob B. asked me to go with him to Fall-In earlier this month.  The person that was going with him had a change of plans at the last minute, so he thought of me.
Fall-In was from Friday through Sunday Nov. 6-8th.
We left Thursday morning and arrived in time to for me to play in a special theme DBA event called Wimpy Wars.  For this event your army had to have 6 elements of light troops, either Psiloi or Light Horse.  This was very different.  I had a good time and placed third out of eight.
Friday consisted of a painting workshop (learned some), shopping, shopping, dinner at Friendly's, the DBA 15mm open tournament (did poorly) and DBA Midnight Madness (knocked out in the first round).
Saturday consisted of the DBA Quadrathon in the morning (I did not place last...), a HOTT event that Bob ran (our side lost), and the DBA campaign "When Things Were Rotten -- 1380 in Western Europe" a five round tournament (I was 20th out of 22).
My overall record for the convention was 4W-2T and 12L.
Everyone I played with was fun and interesting, from a military analyst for the Australian military to a 10 yr old.  The group was very supportive and several people have encouraged me to go to Cold Wars in March.  (I wonder if it has anything to do with my W-L record?)

The events were well organized and fun to play.  The venue was terrific, plenty of room, nice, clean facility.  It's too bad this was the last year in Gettysburg for Fall-In.
The down side was poor organization on the convention side.  If you had not been to this convention before, you would not find things without wandering around and asking multiple staff members.  Basic information was missing from the booklet.  Events were listed without locations, and some locations were not on the maps.  I have seen worse run conventions, but I have also seen much better run ones also.

Here is a link to some of the pictures I took at the convention.

Fall-In 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

British Frigates in process

Here are the first two british frigates HMS Aeolus and HMS Shannon with the main colors blocked out on the hull and sails.

A good beginning but a long ways to go.

While I was working on the HMS Aeolus I noticed the gun details (see the last picture). So what colors were the gun carriages and were the wheels a different color? Hmm.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Terrain

Over the last couple of months I have been upgrading some of my full size terrain.

Here is the previous piece setup as near flood stage.

And here is the new one setup as a fall dry creek bed.

Actually this is a bridge that crosses a creek/ditch in my backyard.  As all good home improvement projects this started as a "replace a couple of boards and level it" to a complete redesign including adding new concrete pilings and all new approaches and decking.
Working on this has been limiting my time to work on miniatures, but now it is done!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Langton Ships

This is the Langton NA5 USS Congress 38 gun frigate fresh from the package.

This is the Langton NA1 USS Constitution 44 gun frigate. 


Here is one of the Langton NB15 British 32 gun frigates with the SF-M-ES1A cast metal sails.  We will be using it for the HMS Aeolus.

These are three of the ships for the event that my Dad and I are planning to run next spring.

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Pro or Con convention

Saturday (Oct 24, 2009) I went to Pro or Con in Dearborn Michigan (  Pro or Con is a 1 1/2 day convention (Friday night and Saturday).  I went for Saturday afternoon to play in the DBA tournament that John Lawitzke was running.  I have played in 3 of John's tournaments and he was the person to teach me the "new" 2.2 rules.  As usual I took my Norman army (III/51) which I choose to play as West Frankish, because they are the same army with a lower aggression (2 vs. 3).  I hoped that this might help me get to defend for once.  So far I have been the attacker every time except 1.  In DBA the defender gets to set up the terrain on the board, which can be a significant advantage.  This was a three round tournament and I did get to defend once (yah!).  Which did NOT help.  I lost 2 and won 1, placing fifth out of six.  A bright spot is the single victory, because it was against John.  I do have to say that it was as much dice as it was tactics, but not all luck.  The 2 losses were to Numidians (II/40) and to Anglo Normans (IV/3). 
Lessons learned: The first one is a repeat, but I hope to get it through my thick skull:
1. Knights do not work against Elephants - EVER (there is no reason to engage an elephant if it can be avoided). 
2. Unsupported knights do not do well against supported knights. 
3.  Knights vs. supported spear is a dice off that ends spectacularly, one way or the other.

I continue to enjoy playing DBA and look forward to getting more armies painted for it.

The convention was well organized, in a great location, and from what I saw well attended with many games and several vendors (5-6?).  I even got some bargains on dice and books. 
I will definitely be going to the next one in March or April.  I may even run something there. 
I would recommend the convention to anyone local looking for a really nice small convention.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pictures of dice cup and ships

Here is the dice cup I made. I plan to dye it blue. We will see how that turns out.

Here is a comparison of 1/1200 ships. The foreground is a 44 gun American frigate by GHQ, behind it in the middle is the same ship by Langton, and in back is a 64 gun ship of the line by Langton. The big American frigates were a little longer than a typical British 74 gun SOL, so the relative sizing is good.

This last picture is the 44 gun frigates nose to nose. The one on the right is the Langton. I am surprised how much higher out of the water the Langton stands. The bow high silhouette (which cannot be seen in this picture) is comparable to pictures of the Constitution under sail (here is a picture I got from Google:  I am surprised by the differences between the Langton and the GHQ (on the left).  And, as expected the Langton ships have much better details.  This is going to be an interesting and challenging project.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Large Project

Over the last few months my Dad and I have been discussing running a Napoleonic era ship battle at one of the conventions in 2010. With the launch of the Trafalgar rules from GW earlier this year this really rekindled my interest in the period.
We have decided to do a small squadron vs. squadron battle, 5 ships to each side set about 1812.
After much discussion about miniatures it was decided to use 1/1200 Langton minis for most, if not all of the ships. (
Over the years we have used have used GHQ, Navwar and Valiant minis for different games.
After acquiring the first of the Langton minis I am amazed at the level of detail and quality of the castings. The parts had very little flash and the few that did, some of them had been deflashed by hand before being shipped. Langton offers both cast sails and sails in etched brass. after looking at both and discussing durability in a convention setting, we decided to go with the cast sails.
The picture is of the first of the British frigates, the 32 gun HMS Aeolus, after initial assembly and priming.
Planning for this event has also driven a review of the rules available.
Trafalgar is the newest, but having read it repeatedly and played it a few times, I have decided not to use them. They are difficult to teach new players and do not convey the feeling I expect in a sailing ship game.
Wooden Ships and Iron Men, the classic from Avalon Hill, but this is hex based and is targeted more for large ship engagements.
This left us with Don't Give Up the Ship (DGUTS). The classic from TSR. This is an excellent rule set that gives a good feel for the period, but is very complicated (I always needed a calculator to play).
This leaves the problem of a rule set. I have decided to to see what can be done to simplify DGUTS and add some of the features from some of the other rules. We will see how this goes.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pictures of recent work

So here are the Norman Knights, seven stands including command in column, marching from the paint desk to the garage to be clear coated.
I am glad to see these done.

Here are some game aids I made for DBA. The tower is a Zone of Control marker
(Barker Marker). The Sticks are movement rulers marked in 1" increments. One in each size needed in DBA.

And here are some 28mm Celts I picked up from Wargames Factory at Cold Wars. At this point I have just finished assembly and will be priming them soon.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Norman Knights

Today marks a turning point on my work bench.  The 15 mm mounted Norman knights that have hoarded the work bench for too long are done with painting.  I based the last of them this morning.  A little green paint, some flocking and clear coat and these will be finished.

I started working on the 15mm Norman DBA army back in May.  Right after "Drums along the Maumee" convention. On June 16th I posted a list of projects for this year.  These are the last of the core troops for the Late Norman army.  This "finishes" the army for now.  (There are still 24 dismounted knights to paint but they will have to wait for a while.)  At this point I have run out of enthusiasm for 15 mm miniatures, so time for something completely different.
More info next post, maybe even pictures.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What has been going on

A few of the things I have been working on lately.
In this picture left to right: A tower style ZOC marker ("Barker Marker") for DBA, and 2 stands of Norman Knights. Only 5 more stands to go...

I have also made measure sticks for DBA in 2", 3" 4" and 5".

Another project has been a leather dice cup. I have played against several people that use them and they are great for keeping the dice away from the miniatures.

For the last month my miniature time has been limited by house projects, including replacing a bridge that crosses a small stream/ditch behind my house. And like all projects this has ballooned from replacing some boards to pouring new pilings and a completely new bridge. (some of this must be a side effect of being an unemployed engineer...)
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Larry Leadhead on DBA

I just saw the new Larry Leadhead cartoon, which really conveys my experience over the years with DBA. :-P


I will post a link to the cartoon when in moves into the archive.

Archive link:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Historicon playtest

Saturday July 11th I was invited over to Bob B.'s to play test a game he is planning to run at Historicon this week. We were playing a modified version of Big Battle DBA. The scenario was a large Hussite army (about 80 elements) against a similar sized Polish army. I had command of 3 units of Hussite reinforcements on the right flank. One unit was several war wagons and several elements of blades. The second unit was knights, cavalry and light horse. The last unit was knights, light horse and foot that came on the board later. The bulk of the rest of the Hussite forces consisted of a Wagenburg of war wagons, artillery and 2 units of foot troops. The Polish had 5 units on the table totalling about 60 elements and 1 unit of reinforcements to come on the board later.

The pictures show the game about 2/3 of the way through. The first is the board from the Hussite side and the second is a closer look at the right flank from the Hussite side. This is where most of the action was going on.

We played for about 3 hours and reached a point that
we could see how it was going to probably end.
We all discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the senario and how it could be changed to make it play faster and more balanced.

One thing that struck me about using DBA for a battle of this size is how slow the units move and how important initial setup is. It is very difficult to redeploy a unit if it is not where it is needed. Another this is that war wagons are much stronger than I expected and are very effective for "funneling" the opponents troops.

Dave S., who I played against at Drums in May, came and played. This gave me a chance to get his email again. (I have not been able to find ANY of my notes from the Drums convention. I think I would lose my head if it was not sewn on, with really good stitching.)

My Dad and I played with Bob B. to the late 80's and early 90's, until careers got in the way. So it is good to be back in touch with him.

I hope to hear soon how the game at Historicon went.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Special Norman Spear

Here are the most recent figures to be 'finished'. These are more 15mm Essex Normans for DBA. These are different from the rest because the hearldry is from my family. From right to left: My dad's family, mine, my wife's fathers family, and my wife's mothers family.
After they have dried for a couple of days they will get clear coat, flocking and a final clearcoat.

It was good to have my folks visit. But I did not get as much gaming or painting in as I had planned.

I was able to borrow a copy of DBA rules version 2.2. I mainly wanted it for the army lists, because they have changed from my last rulebook, version 1.1. And did they change! I am having to review all of my armies and see what I have miniatures for and what I need to get. One of the annoying changes is switching Wabands to Auxilia, such as 61 to II/54 (I hope I can use the current figures). Another annoying change is switching Auxilia to Spear in 92 to III/19 (again I hope I can use the current figures). The strangest change is for 134 Anglo-Norman to IV/3. The Knights can now dismount as Blades or Spear (only Blades before) and there is a War Wagon. I did not expect a War Wagon. This means I have to get 20 more Spear figures and a War Wagon (to be able to field all of the options). I will have to sit down and plan what I want to buy and when.

I have 8 more spear in process, shields are done, just need final cleanup.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Games with Dad

My folks are visiting. Dad brought some of 15mm DBA figures, so we have played a couple of games. First was my Normans (102c) vs. his Sub-Roman British (82). The Normans won by killing his general (must have been Uther Pendragon). (I know, not a period match, just my favorite vs. his favorite).
Then I took Pre-Feudal Scots (111) vs. his Welsh (92). After much maneuvering, I engaged his line, only to have my last element on the left end be short "by that much". I lost my forth element by rolling a 1 (he rolled a six and doubled me). So we are 1 victory each. I hope to get more in before they leave.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back from Origins

I went to Origins last week in Columbus Ohio. I was only able to go for Friday, but still had a great time. Shopping was good, but I was suprised by the lack of historical miniture companies. Last time I was at Origins (12-15 years ago...) there seemed to be alot more historical games and vendors.
I played in the DBA 15mm open tournament using my Norman army and placed in the bottom third with 1 win and 2 losses. There are subtleties in the rules that take some time to get used to.

I fielded the following army:
III/51 Normans (~1066AD)
1x3 Knights (General)
6x3 Knights
1x2 Light Horse
2x4 Spear
2x2 Psiloi

The 2 losses were against an army with 3 elephants (Indian?) and an army with lots of bow. Both elephants and bow kill knights if the beat them at all (quick kill). The only thing I had that would work against the elephants was psiloi, which was not a winning strategy. Against the army with the bow I ended up having knights scattered all over and the spear locked in a fight to the death with the other armies spear. I lost my general and then the dice decided to go on vacation. Oh well.
After reviewing the army list I think I will swap one knight for a cavalry and one psiloi for a bow. This should give me a little more flexibility to deal with armies with bow. Elephants, well, that is a whole different problem. (I don't think William the Conquorer had to deal with elephants...)

My folks are coming to visit for a few days so I won't get much done on miniatures, but Dad and I are planning to play some DBA and maybe some Don't Give Up the Ship or Trafalgar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here is the pallisade camp and followers. The camp did not turn out as well I would like, but it's usable, which is just in time for Origins this week. Tomorrow the followers get flocking and then packed to go.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Camp Followers

Here are the camp followers for my palisade camp (the 2 in front).
To the right are some of the command figures for the army.
Behind is some of the spearmen for the same army. I am trying to do more interesting shields for this group. The 4 all the way in back I am planning to paint family coats of arms, both of my families and both from my wifes' family. (If I can paint lions rampant on this small of a shield...)

The camp is progressing well, it came out of the 'sculpy oven' just before dinner. I will post a picture later.
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Norman Light Horse

Here are 3 elements of Light Horse waiting for the flock to dry on the bases.
These are part of the 15mm Norman armies I am working on for DBA.

As I sit here typing this out I begin to wonder, which list needs 3 or 4 Light Horse elements? After looking at the army lists I realize that these elements allow me to field 102b Bretons and 102c/134 Normans at the same time. I don't remember planning it this way but, I did buy these in the mid to late 90's.

I am still using the army lists from ver. 1.1, but I hope to pick up a copy of 2.2 at Origins this week.
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64 gun SOL

Work in progress:
This is a 64 gun SOL, 1/2000 from Valiant.
The hull is finished and the sails are progressing.
This little project is serving as filler for when I am tired of whatever is the current "main" project.
This is also why it has taken 2 months to get here.
And in the background is the mess I like to call a "painting table".
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Normans for DBA

15mm Normans (left to right, front to back)
3 elements of Spear
6 elements of Knights and 1 element of Knights with the General
3 elements of Cavalry, 1 element of Light Horse, 2 elements of Auxilia (spear and shield)
1 element of Crossbow
5 elements of Psiloi

In back there are 12 spear and another mounted command in process.
On the left there are sails for a 64 gun ship of the line, also in process.
This is all of the Normans that are finished, which includes army 102c with almost all variants (3 elements of Crossbow are waiting on final clear coat.)
This also includes 2 elements of Auxilia for army 134. I have Psiloi and Crossbow waiting for final clear coat (maybe today), and 3 elements of Light horse waiting to be based.
I am working towards having 2 complete Norman armies done (102c and 134) this summer.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Projects list and Goals for this year

Currently I am working on the following:
For 15mm DBA:
Late Norman army
Auxila, Psiloi and Light Horse done, next are Spearmen
Palisade camp with 2 camp followers

These are being prepped:
Scots-Irish army
Welsh army
Viking army

1/2000 Napoleonic sailing ships
Finishing the last 64 gun ship of the line, hull is painted and the sails are in process

28mm for Warhammer Ancient Battles:
2000 pt. Swiss, built around a core of Ral Partha swiss pikemen I painted about 1981.
I have added more pike, artillery and crossbow from Old Glory.

I have started assembling some Woodland Scenic tree kits, with marginal results.
Recently purchased felt for use with DBA to make mats and terrain features.

Stuff for eBay:
I have decided to sell all of my Battletech stuff, including about 100 miniatures, of which about 75 are painted. And I have way too many books and supplements. I need to put together a list and start taking pictures.

And I have many, many projects "waiting in the wings".

I have 3 goals for this year:
1. Find a regular gaming group.
2. finish the DBA and Swiss armies listed above.
3. Sell the Battletech stuff (so I can by more games and minis, of course).

I will post pictures soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pictures of 15mm Normans

Here is the command element and 2 elements of knights from my early Norman army.

And here are 3 elements of spear from my early Norman army.
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Current projects: DBA armies

Last month at Drums Along the Maumee convention in Ohio, among other things, I participated in the 15mm DBA tournament. This was my first time playing DBA in more than 10 years. I placed 6th out of 12 with 2 wins and 1 loss. I used my Early Norman army (102c under the old rules) that I painted in the mid to late 90's. And, of course this renewed my interest in playing DBA.

So, I have looked through the miniatures that wait to be painted and pulled out the other 4 DBA armies I bought all those years ago.
These are Late Norman (134) (Yes! More knights!), Early Welsh (92), Scots-Irish (61) and Viking (106). I have spent time in the last few weeks cleaning up these figures and painting. I have started painting the Late Norman.

Next, I will be trying to work out posting pictures to the blog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

To begin...

This is the first post in my blog about "My Gamer Life".
My goals are to use this space to talk about me and my gaming activities.
- Log what is going on in my life that relates to gaming.
- Talk about my current projects.
- And prattle on incessantly about me, me and me. ;-P

This is also my first attempt at "blogging". So beware this could be chaotic, silly, annoying and probably useless to most people.

And like many blogs, we will see how long this lasts.