March 20, 2023

King of Buccaneers

So this was an epic undertaking. When Barry first unveiled the 4Play scenario pack concept, he invited me to join in. While I had a pile of ideas, I quickly realized I didn't have the models to present them in the manner I wished. We were eyeball deep in Mad for the War at the time. As naval gaming had never been a passion of mine, I set out to read some books on the subject to see what all the fuss was about.

Being a proud gentleman of Virginia, I decided to focus on events on this side of the Pond. There were small actions all up and down the coast of colonies, but what drew more of my attention were exploits of the pirates, buccaneers, and privateers. Scattered all through the exploits of these sea dogs were small unit land actions that are perfect for Beneath the Lily Banners and Donnybrook! While they weren't painted, I had a pile of lead I'd amassed for pursuing our period into the Caribbean (after Barry's great game I'd attended in the Old Country).

The Battle of Panama featured an army of buccaneer infantry against a mixed force of Spanish uniformed troops, native auxiliaries, poor artillery (some sources say any guns were left to defend the city), two large units of cavalry (extremely rare in this theater), and herd of oxen! Any time I start a collection, I always look for these kinds of mixed forces so avoid the fatigue of painting six identical battalions. I felt like this would be an amazing looking force on the tabletop.

The King of Buccaneers 4Play PDF is 20 pages and includes two scenarios for Beneath the Lily Banners and one for Donnybrook.

The first game is a 4Play BLB assault on the breach of the San Lorenzo fort which guarded the mouth of the Chagres—the route Henry Morgan had chosen for his invasion of Panama. At the time, the fort was a crude affair of earthen walls between timber palisades. I didn't have anything like that in my collection either (sigh), so I set out to build  a custom 24x24 inch tile for the game.

The second game is a standard-sized Donnybrook game on a 48x48 inch table. The encounter is fictional ambush as only a token resistance was staged as the pirates hacked their way through the jungle. It represents the Spanish intent rather than actual defense. As with the previous game, I wanted an bit of terrain I didn't have and custom built the ruined chapel for the center of the table.

The final game is a 4Play X BLB battle, featuring eight units per side on a 48x48 inch table set to last eight turns. 

I had a blast playing all three of these games. I'm hoping to explore more scenarios for the Caribbean in the future, including adding more uniformed units (I cunningly chose to paint my Spanish militia in the uniform of the French de la Marine so with a flag swap I have the start of another army).

You can grab a copy of King of Buccaneers at the Warfare Miniature USA shop!

Hopefully I'll have some more scenarios to add the the collection this year.

January 8, 2023

Donnybrook Essentials

It's been ten years since Barry and I published Donnybrook, our skirmish rules for 1660-1760. The book has been sold out for a while. We intend to release a second edition with the detail and full color treatment for which we are known (no date... it's in the queue... lol), there's a project I've been wanting to do for a while.

My introduction to wargaming was with the black and white booklets, wrapped with cardstock covers and saddle stitched bindings of the 70s and 80s. I love the slick production and beautiful photographs found in modern publications, but I still drag out these old books from time to time—WRG's Wargames Rules 3000BC to 1485AD, De Bellis Antiquitatis, the original Dungeons & Dragons, and many offerings from Partizan Press (including David O'Brien's Skirmish Battles of the American War of Independence). 

The old school renaissance in gaming isn't new. There is something very charming about these old books and it's long been an ambition of mine to do something similar.

The day before Christmas, I sat down at my computer to try and get an idea of what an old school version of Donnybrook might look like. After laying out a few chapters, my OCD took over and I was hooked. Over the course of the next few weeks I spent many hours forcing the manuscript into the half-sized pages and madly scribbling new drawings (or reimagining old) with which to crown the tiny volume. Finally, I had a couple of copies produced by a local office supply store. 


I am extremely happy with the results. The book is 5.5"x11" and 36 pages, printed on 24lb matte paper (the shine in the photos above is just the desk lamps reflecting the ink) with a 110lb cardstock cover. It will include a full page, double-sided play sheet (folded neatly tucked inside). All of the rules needed for swashbuckling adventures can be found in Donnybrook Essentials.

So how is this different than Donnybrook?

First and foremost, there are rule updates—not a ton, but there are a few things over the years that haven't worked as intended or were just unclear. Troop ability types have been changed to match Beneath the Lily Banners, with Recruits becoming Raw and Elite, Veteran. If you already have a copy of Donnybrook, you don't NEED this book, but you may find it handier to use at the game table.

The largest change (and biggest omission) is the lack of faction lists. I've long intended to change how these were presented. They have always been meant as guidelines for new gamers, but were never meant to be set in stone. Barry and I break them on a regular basis to fit the stories we tell. Factions WILL return in the second edition, but didn't seem necessary for Donnybrook Essentials.

To ensure you still have plenty of variety when building your forces, Special Characters have been expanded. There are nine "generic" Characters you can choose to bolster your forces. While some of these Characters are more appropriate for certain armies, your narrative may justify their inclusion in your force. For example, the Master of Hounds may be a common component of a Highlander or Cultist force, but if your Army Captain's raison d'être is hunting, he may have a pack of wolfhounds in tow.

Donnybrook Essentials also features an Events section, optional rules, and a sample scenario (The Curious Case of Peter Pett, adapted from one of Barry's 4Play scenarios). It will still be a couple of weeks before this is available as we work through the logistics, but it will be offered in hard copy and PDF. If you buy the book, we will include the PDF free of charge.

Watch this space for where and when you can get your copy!

July 5, 2022

Grimjawsopol Musketeer Regiment


I finally managed to finish my second regiment for my oldschool Horse & Musket project. They've actually been painted for a while now, but I just got around to painting the colonel and basing this horde.

This is the Grimjawsopol Musketeer Regiment of the Gran Duchy of Sazir, named for the province in which they are recruited. Colonel Yakov Romanov was appointed to lead these stout lads by Count Aleksandrov. The good colonel accepted the appointment with some trepidation as the Count of Grimjawsopol is known by the peasantry as "Alek the Mad" and the lord has been known to meet out gruesome fates to those who disappoint him. 

The regiment is again shown in summer campaign dress. Most of the officers are in full uniform and reflect that worn by the rank and file during other times—dark green coat with black facings.

The unit is often brigaded with the von Tripdenfel Musketeer Regiment as they also come from the Grimjawsopol province in Sazir (raised privately by Lord Gregor von Tripdenfel).

I'm still toying with rules, but I have a long way to go before I can actually put armies on the table!

Up next on the painting table are an (as yet) unnamed company of Pandour Light Infantry, represented by 16 models and two characters (an officer and drummer). I'm hoping they will quickly join the painted brigade. This small force will be supported by a a full regiment of dragoons (24 models + characters) and a pair of field guns. 

June 27, 2022

Cult Units for Turnip 28

While I've already mentioned The Slug's Lament (last post), I've done a couple of other units to allow myself some flexibility of my forces. The fickle folk of Cist can change Cults between games so it seemed like a good excuse to convert a couple of unique units.

The Lopers of Maudlin Marsh. Stilt walkers of the Maudlin Marsh. Pitiful drunks, they stride into battle tottering this way and that. 

These guys can ignore Dangerous Terrain, which makes them valuable in the fetid swamps of Cist. Other units may include Stilt Spotters which give them a range bonus of 6", making them extremely useful for black powder armies.

Knights of Shellwood. Shields, banners, and shattered lances litter the shells of the ancient knights. They ooze over the battlefield, unstoppable in their advance, an army dedicated to their snails’ pace. The followers of the Knights of Shellwood bring with them their favourite snails to stave off nostalgia. In return for the holiday, these treasured molluscs provide excellent cover for their loving guardians.

Really just picked this unit because I wanted to make the conversion. Your army is extremely slow if following the Cult of the Knights of Shellwood, but units count as being in Defensible Terrain if they haven't moved.

I've got one more model setting on my desk awaiting glue and greenstuff, so I'll have another post soon. I also have the table set up for my first (solo) game and I'll have a battle report when I get through it.

Mr. Biggles bids you good day!

May 29, 2022

Die Schwarze Zwieblegarde

The Black Onion Guard (a reenactor group on holiday in Cist) is my second full Turnip 28 army! They are led by the enigmatic Toff, Dame Plattengesicht.  

They are based on the Cult of the Slug's Lament, which means they gain an extra unit—The Old Guard! This bonus is offset by the fact that the Old Guard and their Toff do not arrive until turn three AND take the field "Tired and Weary" with six panic tokens already in place. This means they may be brittle, but if used properly (or with some luck), they can provide a winning blow!

The Chaff (bow armed skirmishers) shown in the first photo with Lady Plateface are not actually part of the core army. I've painted them in neutral colors (relative to my armies) so I can field them as auxiliaries for either side. 

This stump gun is among my favorite creations for Turnip 28 so far.

I've really enjoyed building and painting things for this weird little universe. It's been a great side project. I'll share more Cult units soon and a tutorial on how I built the board featured in these photos.


April 2, 2022

More Squelchy Warriors for Turnip 28

With these last four models, my first Turnip 28 regiment is finished!

The Bastards of the Quindian 69th...

...and His Most Terrible Carrotness, Master of the Seven Sounds, Toff Lord Saberface!

Finally, here's the whole sodden horde...

I had a blast building and painting this force. My second regiment is already well underway! I'll expand both armies with some of the Cult forces once I can get in a couple of games (I already have several of those units underway as well).

March 30, 2022

The Quindian 69th - More Turnip 28

 My Turnip 28 regiment is filling out nicely! The painting style of chosen for this project is fast and fits well with the style of the game. It's basically black primer with a zenithal spray of Citadel Wraithbone from above, then Citadel Contrast paints. I spend a little more time highlighting faces and hats. Finally, I use several layers of weathering powder of different earth tones, mostly concentrated on the lower third of the model, to blend them into the bases.

These two worthies are my Toadies—lieutenant Snobs, if you will. On the left is Sir Tripdenfel and to the right is Mr. Biggles. Each leads a unit of hapless, but enthusiastic (until the bullets start flying) Fodder:

To add a little more competency (a very little more), I've gone for a unit of Brutes to spearhead my attack...

All of my units are armed with Black Powder weapons, but it's easy enough to declare them as Melee before a game ("What? You thought we were going to give you bullets? Don't be absurd!").

I'm having a blast with this little game. I haven't decided on a specific Cult for the Quindian 69th (and you can choose more than one, shifting between games), but I did design their heraldry!

More to come (my Toff and a unit of Bastards are primed and on the painting desk)! I also only have ten models left to paint for my second regiment of infantry for the Gran Duchy of Sazir!

March 24, 2022

Throwback Thursday - Nile Paddle Steamer

 Maybe not technically a "throwback" post. Last year was dismal for me maintaining the blog, but I had a wedding to help plan, so I had other things on my plate. I wasn't idle on the modeling and painting front - I just didn't have the time to post about things very often. So... Throwback Thursday. As I can, I'll blog about stuff I did last year (mixed in with the new stuff).

First up is a Nile paddle steamer I built for my growing Sudan collection!

This ship was constructed with parts from the Southern Belle kit from Lindberg, but I had to modify things pretty extensively because it's too small for 28mm. The paddle wheel alone is worth the price of the kit!

I was extremely happy with how this build worked out. I'm planning on getting another kit to add a second gunboat at some point. I already have a couple of pirate ships I can press into service as Dhows for a grand encounter on the Nile! I have a small contingent of Royal Marines setting on the desk (and that Nordenfelt Gun see in the last pic) waiting for paint.

I won't drone on about how it was built, but I'll be happy to answer questions. The modifications are mostly balsa and matboard. The sandbags were purchased on Etsy and various other details came from stuff I had lying around.

I'll dig out another project and present it for Throwback Thursday as I have time!