July 29, 2016

Final Thoughts on Historicon 2016


I've just finished going through my notes preparing records for my own Glorious Obsession. It is impossible for me to do a write up on every game we ran, but I wanted to highlight some of the action.

First of all, hats off to Captain Murray who had to be the most active officer on the table. He was killed in game one by an errant shot (Event Card) that caused the rout of the Williamite center on the last turn of the game, fought a personal duel on the crest of the Pennyburn Bridge and killed General Maumont in game two, led a charge that recaptured a lost standard in game three, 'rescued' General Maumont's Mistress from the Jacobite camp and led the most decisive win of the week in game five with a victory called after eight turns (out of ten), and got caught up in a retreat and drowned in a bog in game seven. He personally led multiple cavalry charges. His first squadron was ALWAYS the first over the bridge in the assault and were routed or destroyed in every game except one. His second squadron fared slightly better and managed to survive four games, but suffered capture in game two. Bull's cavalry suffered serious casualties as well, but not in the spectacular fashion of Murray's!


Lord Grand Priors's battalion fought well. They were deployed near the bridge and had to withstand multiple cavalry charges almost every game. They managed to capture colors from both of Murray's squadrons in game two.


The Kestrel proved to be an entertaining part of the scenario. The effectiveness of the guns varied depending on the skill of the players with maneuvering in the current, but it did reduce a scratch squadron of Jacobite horse to a bloody smear at near point blank range in one game. We had a boarding action once when Jacobite troops launched a small boat to pursue the ship. Another game featured a waterborne 'sniper' duel when a lone soldier (his partner fell overboard) spent the session picking off crew men. Near the end of the game, the captain became so alarmed at the losses that they turned loose a full broadside at the little boat... by turn ten the launch was sinking, but the sniper managed to paddle to shore!


Besides all of the enthusiastic gamers at our table, I had a lot of fun hanging out 'after hours' with people I had only really conversed with online, including Dan Faulconbridge and Dave Taylor.

So how was the rest of Historicon? Well, I don't really know. I didn't get away from our table often. There was a few grumbles about registration (which I think I avoided as a GM who checked in Wednesday night), but for the most part everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. I've seen other negative comments that it was too hot in the main hall (which I never noticed), a funny smell (besides the great smell of hot dogs grilling near by, again I didn't notice) or there weren't as many people (several dealers I spoke with said their sales were up). I guess I was just having too much fun...


It was also great to get to hang out with my partner in crime (photo above the only proof I've seen that we were BOTH at the table - from Thomas Grove). We've only been in the same city twice in the ten years we've been working together so it was good to be able to sit down and share a beer (well. ok lots of beers). I honestly don't know if we'd get anything accomplished that didn't including toy soldiers if we lived on the same continent...

July 24, 2016

My First Saxons!

Yes, I am excited about painting these models! I normally start with a pile of rank and file and 'reward' myself with leader types once I've got a good muster of troops, but this time I wanted to assemble the leaders of the warband first.

 

This will be Lord Aeth-something... I haven't decided exactly, but there are a pile of good Saxon nobles that begin with that syllable! There are a lot of great shield transfers out there, but I decided to paint all of my shields by hand. To some degree that will limit the level of detail that I can add, but I think they will blend in better with my style of painting.


The Lord's most trust retainer carries the holy Christian banner of his house into battle. Of course the flag is Quindia Studios and made in the same style of the Grand Alliance, GNW, and AWI collections offered at the LoA store. No, there are no plans to offer Dark Ages flags in the shop at this time - this one was just for me!

The paints used are Wargames Foundry, except for the metallics which are Games Workshop. Both models were given a dusty campaign appearance with weathering powders.

Quick review - The Footsore Miniatures are a joy to paint. There was virtually no flash on these models, which is important on chainmail as you can never quite get rid of mould lines without ruining some of the armour. The models are crisp and even tiny details like the button on the pouches are easy to pick out with a brush. These compare well with any other brand I buy and if you are thinking about starting a Dark Age project, they are well worth considering.

The rest of the armoured lads are up next!

July 22, 2016

Donnybrook Dark Ages


I spent very little time in the dealer hall at Historicon. In fact I really only took one tour through on Saturday, mostly to visit a few folks I know like Rob Walters of Eureka and our own Bob Miller of Le Roi Soleil, the dealer for Warfare Miniatures in the US. I also stopped to visit a new friend, Bill Thornhill of Footsore Miniatures. We met for the first time at Historicon. I knew Bill had placed an ad in BLB a few years ago for his Musketeer Miniature line... what I didn't know was that Bill has a wonderful and growing range of Dark Age models under the banner of Footsore Miniatures. Ok, I know this isn't news, but it was news to me.

After preparing for six months to run BLB at the con, I was spoiling for something different and the Footsore minis came at the same time I had just finished watching this season of Vikings and I started rereading The Last Kingdom series (yes, I know there's a TV show for that too - not quite the same, but I will check it out when I've finished the books again). Bill had some 4-point Saga warband deals available at Historicon (and on his website) and I picked up the Anglo-Saxon set and an extra character pack. I spent the last few days assembling the fyrd and managed to basecoat them this afternoon!


I should have snapped a few pics before basecoating, but if you head over to Footsore Miniatures you can see lovely examples of the painted models to get an idea of what I'm working with.

After getting home and taking stock of what I wanted to do, I realized I need more (and they are on the way)! The plan is to build two Saxon warbands, rival earls or eldermen of Northumbria and Mercia. These groups could then be pitted against each other or combined into a larger force to face the painted Foundry Vikings I already own (and have lots of unpainted lead for as well). I have a wonderful pair of Viking longships from Adrian's Walls and I'm planning to scratch build a small village to go with my Historicon boards (and others. of course, but the Historicon set up is the only coastline I have at the moment).



I am also using Dalauppror's 1-2-3 basing method for this collection. I've been looking for an excuse to try this and Dark Age skirmishing seems perfect. It gives the flexibility for skirmishing, the convenience of quicker movement, and the coolness of mini-vignettes. Yes, I glued them all down before painting them and it will make it a little harder to paint, but it will be a little faster as I won't waste a bunch of time painting details that are covered by by the shields or other models. If I can't reach it with a brush, you won't be able to see it! I will probably rebase the Vikings as well to match the new collection.

So what's with the title of the post? As I've said many times, I've used Donnybrook from everything from Warhammer to Darkest Africa. I have a handful of amendments to drag the published version back to the eighth or ninth century and we may even publish them as a PDF later this year, but for now suffice to say I'm planning on using my own rules rather than Saga. The Saga dice and charts are a cool idea, but seem a bit tedious to me - I am finding I very much prefer simple and straightforward mechanics these days, especially for skirmishing. Not that there is anything complicated about Saga and the charts really seem to add a lot of character to the encounters, but I KNOW Donnybrook without the need to usually look at any charts at all. This project is mainly for my table so I'll stick with that (besides, the force building rules are similar and I can always use Saga too).

Lots more to come as I expect this to my main focus for as long as it takes! I still have final thoughts on Historicon as well as I post those sometime next week...

July 17, 2016

Historicon Sunday

Whew! Seven games in four days!

DID THEY NOT SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
FIRST TWO SQUADRONS THAT CROSSED THE BRIDGE?


RIPARIAN ENTERTAINMENTS


THE GENERALS RESOLVE A GAME TOO CLOSE TO CALL
WITH A SPIRITED GAME OF BLACKJACK

SEVEN GAMES WASN'T ENOUGH!
BARRY AND I FIGHT IT OUT TO SEE
WHO PAYS FOR DINNER!
(I think he cheated)


I am sooooo going to get it when Hilton gets back to a computer. He will be plotting his revenge on the entire flight back to Scotland. You'll have to keep an eye out over the LoA blog...

It was fun to get the chance to run Beneath the Lily Banners for so many great wargamers. I'll have more over the next few weeks...

Historicon Saturday

Three days, six games...

CAPTAIN MURRAY AND THE LADS


'YOUR OTHER PORT!'


THE PENNYBURN MILL


'... AND THEN I THROTTLED HIM!'


So far we've had four victories for the Jacobites and two for the Sons of Derry, though I think the later had the most decisive win, causing the game to be called on turn 8 out of 10. Now I'm off to bed as I was out drinking with Scotsmen and Canadians!

One more game tomorrow... err... later today now... oh, dear!

July 16, 2016

Historicon Friday

Two more great games, but one sequence stood out...

CAPTAIN MURRAY, THE COMMANDER OF SALLIES,
LEADS A RAID ON THE JACOBITE CAMP...

... 'RESCUES' THE DOXY...

... AND DELIVERS HER TO THE PASTOR
TO LEARN THE ERROR OF HER WAYS!


YES, NOW WE NEED TO CALL HIM 'SIR BARRY'


Yes, they gave him a medal. Yes, he may be insufferable for a bit. Yes, I think he made that face just to mess with you... I think.

Seriously, congratulations on being inducted into the HMGS Legion of Honor. Barry has produced decades of amazing games under the League of Augsburg title and is deserving of the recognition. His work has inspired many of us.

Of course, pal, I'll be back to making fun of you tomorrow...

July 15, 2016

Historicon Thursday

I'll write some full reports after the show, but wanted to throw up a couple of quick shots...

JACOBITES DEFENDING THEIR... ERR... CAMP...


WELL, WE DON'T REALLY KNOW THE RULES EITHER.


CAPTAIN MURRAY LEADS THE SALLY!


THEY SAID WE HAD TO CAPTURE THE BRIDGE!


Fantastic day. Had a great dinner out. Interest was so high we decided to run a SECOND game Thursday night. Off to bed because it's now tomorrow and I have to be up around 0630... I'll make more sense on the next post (maybe).

July 12, 2016

Packing List for Historicon


Inspired by Miles from Lair of the Uber Geek, I thought I'd add a quick post on the list of everything I need to pack for Historicon. He and I followed similar paths this spring and summer, documenting all of the preparations for our games so I thought I might as well keep up the trend.

Terrain
Two 4x4' Game Boards
Island (an old GW hill that sets on the water)
Bridge, Windmill, and Barn
Pennyburn Mill Sign
Assorted Walls and Fences
Trees
Wheat Field
Pier
Tents, Crates, and Other Assorted Camp Gear

Jacobites
Three Commanders
Three Battalions of Foot
Two Regiments of Horse
Three Detachments of Foot
Light Gun

Derry
Three Commanders
One Battalion of Foot
Three Regiments of Horse
Three Detachments of Foot

Other Models
Assorted Civilians and Livestock

Boats
Small Cutter w/Crew and Two Guns
Three Launches

Game Stuff
Two Beneath the Lily Banners Books
Six sets of QRS
Unit Cards
Unit Roster Sheets
Player Handouts
Dice (D6's and D10's)
Two Tape Measures
Order Markers
Condition Markers
Wheeling Templates

Display Stuff
Table Cloth
Signs for the Table
     Quindia Studios
     League of Augsburg
     Beneath the Lily Banners
Business Cards for Blogs
     Quinda Studios
     League of Augsburg
Uniform Guides
     Battle of the Boyne
     Siege of Derry

Other Stuff
Super Glue
Pens, Pencils, and Markers
Wedges (in case of uneven tables)
Notebook
Camera, Lenses, and Charger
iPad (not likely to forget this) and charger (might have forgotten this)

Co-GM
Barry Hilton (must remember to pick him up at the airport tomorrow)

Somehow I need to save room for a suitcase and one for Mr. Hilton as well! The good news is that everything has already been checked and rechecked and packed in their boxes. All I need to do is load up the SUV (and make sure not leave any boxes... maybe I need to make another checklist).

Right! Heading out tomorrow after lunch. I promise to take tons of photos and keep my camera with me between games to try and get some shots from other tables. I am hoping to find time to visit other games and stroll through the vendor sections, but I only have a two-hour window between games on Friday and Saturday during most of the action.

Can't wait!