The feast of St. Crispian and this wargamer’s life.


Alan and Michael Perry’s amazing diorama in the Royal Armoury to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Agincourt. 

October 25th is the anniversary of Agincourt, fought in 1415, 601 years ago.  Agincourt is one of the best remembered of all British battles, one that recalls good King Hal with his tattered band of yeomen drowning a vastly superior French army in a sea of mud, while raining down a storm of arrows that left the French broken, dispirited and leaderless. That’s all hokum of course, according to the new research about the Hundred Years War and this most English of battles.

But this post isn’t to revisit Agincourt and our changing perceptions of the battle, it’s really about me. I don’t claim to know everything about the battle.  In fact, I’m regularly confronted with the fact that I know little.  But learning about Agincourt set me on a road I remain happy to follow: a healthy obsession with the Hundred Years War I play out in reading and miniature wargaming.


My battered 1976 copy of the Face of Battle. It wlll be the last book I ever part with. 

No work influenced my connection to this period more than John Keegan’s 1976 book, the Face of Battle.  Intended to be a look inside battle, from the soldier’s perspective, Keegan devoted about 37 pages to breaking down the experience of archers, men-at arms, and horsemen at the battle.  Drawing from mostly secondary sources, Keegan’s observations were vivid.  Though measured against today’s writing, it may seem wholly incorrect, The Face of Battle drew me into the period and put Agincourt on my list of must do’s.

I read Keegan’s book in 1978, the summer I graduated from college.  It is about this time I also plunged fully into miniature wargaming. Surprisingly, or maybe not, I didn’t leap headlong into the HYW in miniatures.  My friends and I played Napoleonics in 15mm, WRG Ancients, again in 15mm. Later I did George Gush’s Renaissance rules, Lynn Bodin’s Imperialim, my first flirtation with 25mm figures. But no Agincourt.

In 1989 I saw Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. And then I saw it again.  I bought it on VHS, I have it on DVD.  I can stream it on Netflix. It is not historically accurate, but the words mean so much to me. Whether it is Exeter reminding the Dauphin that young King Henry has matured and will “make your Paris Louvre” shake with gunstones, or the brilliance of the Crispian’s Day address, it still gives me chills. I’ve watched it at least a hundred times. Maybe I’ll watch it today, make it an even 101. If you’ve never watched Branagh at his finest, it’s here for you to view. If you don’t want to become one of his “band of brothers,” check to see if you have a heartbeat.

I began my Hundred Years War project at least 15 years ago.  I have more figures painted for it than any other, and far more unpainted miniatures than for any other period. I’ve hosted skirmish games and chevauchees.  I’ve run naval battles.  My goal is play Poitiers, rather than Agincourt, because the circumstances of the more famous battle are so difficult to recreate on the game table. While I have plenty of unpainted figures, I really want to take advantage of the new Perry plastics, which have the dual virtues of being beautiful AND cheap.

Though I’ve given up on Agincourt as a game, without my exposure to it, the passion that will always inspire me for the period would never have begun. What began with Keegan and Branaugh continues with Jonathan Sumption and Anne Curry, with the superb miniatures by the Perry brothers, and watching my friend Chris Craft roll his beautiful miniatures out on the table to play Verneuil, and of course, Agincourt itself.

Like most wargamers, I am easily distracted.  My interests change with the moment-new rules, new miniatures, what my friends are doing–but my desire to continue with the project, paint what I have and more, find new ways to game the Hundred Years War, will never die.

What’s the point, man?

I met my painting goal for the week.  I polished off the last of my Aztec figures.  I still have 36 Tlaxcallan allies to wrap up, and tonight (Sunday) I’ll start getting them ready to be primed and painted over the next couple of weeks. My goal is to finish the first twelve–all medium quality warriors, leaving a couple dozen peasant types.  That’s like seven or eight points worth of guys.

Points, I hate ’em. I’m a great believer that points systems kill good scenario making. It’s too easy to just throw figures out on the table at the agreed number of points each and have at it. Most game systems have points that guide choices from Hail Caesar to Flames of War, and I don’t like it.



My two boxes of Aztec warriors.  A total of 15 units so far, with more to come. 

That said, those same point systems can guide building armies and sticking armies in the field because they do offer an insight to relative strengths of the opposing armies.  I do think it’s okay to have unequal sides, especially of scenario rules and game objectives compensate for that inequality.  But  it’s always nice to know, as a scenario designer what you have on the table.

I like the idea of being able to offer six player games for the “Rampant” series, and the same is true for the Aztecs and Conquistadors. So, with my figures all nearly painted it’s time to evaluate where I am.  The rules call for 24 point retinues or commands, which is a good but not hard rule of thumb. This is what I have:


4 X  swordsmen @ 6 pts ea =  24 pts

2 X crossbowmen @ 4 pts. ea.= 8 pts

2 X arquebusiers @ 4 pts ea = 8 pts.

1 X Caballeros @ 6 pts ea. = 6 pts.

1 X cannon and crew @ 4 pts = 4 pts

1 X war dog party @ 4 pts = 4pts

The total is 54 points.  I think that’s plenty of Spaniards.  However, I don’t like the mix.  I would like to add another two units of swordsmen because I feel like the number of missile troops is disproportionate. to a historical Spanish force. It just adds to the counter mix and choices players can make.

Add to the Spanish the Tlaxcallan contingent.

1 X Tlaxcallan knight @ 4 pts ea = 4 pts

1 X veteran warriors @ 4 pts ea = 4 pts

4 X skirmisher @ 2 pts. ea = 8 pts.

The total is 16 points.  I’m not sure this organization works out.  David suggested the Tlaxcallans had separate missile units, so the skirmishers may have to be combined for a total of 12 points.  I will add troops to the Tlaxcallans.  They’ll be the Outpost Tlaxcallans, and I will likely add melee troops to bring them up to about 24 points. Ideally I want them to form about 1/3 the points of a Spanish army. The addition of atl-atls or dart throwers gives an extra point to warriors.


3 X warrior knights @ 4 pts ea = 12 pts

4 X veteran warriors @ 4 pts ea = 16 pts

4 X peasant warriors @ 3 pts ea = 12 pts

4 X skirmishers @ 2 pts ea = 8 pts.

The total is 48 points.  That’s not a lot compared to the Spanish and their allies. The Aztecs could add an extra point to each warrior unit for atl-atl and that would bring things up to 59, but still significantly less than 72 points.  Because the Aztecs are fairly generic, that is a good number to shoot for, so I will continue to add units to the Aztecs.

Even though there is a part of me that wants to be done with this project-I have been dogged in my perseverance with this project for the past five months, both with time and dollars, it’s going to take a bit more to finish up


Feather suit warriors by Eureka Miniatures.  I like the feathered suits by Eureka.  Good stuff. 


Cayman knights by Eureka.  Interesting figs, though almost no source discusses cayman knights. 

Cortes is ready

After taking time away to begin work on the Aztecs, I decided to polish off the rest of the Spanish I’ve purchased for Quetzacoatl Rampant. It’s been two weeks since our playtest of the game at Meeples and I spent last weekend working on my mounted Spaniards. This week, aided and abetted by our strange day off on Tuesday.  I finished painting on Wednesday, took care of all the washing and basing on Friday, and tried my hand at workable flags Saturday while listening to the Huskies devastate the hated Ducks in Quackland.

All my Spanish are done. There are nine units, each of six figures. In our rules they are nasty, but their small size makes them quite brittle.

I have one mounted unit. The Spanish had a handful of mounted men-not your basic Gendarme from the Italian battlefield, but the horses were fear inspiring, and the riders were motivated, very tough on the Aztecs whose largest domestic animals were small dogs raised for food.

I also have four units of missile troops, two each of arquebusiers and crossbowmen. Both weapons did terrible damage to the native Mexicans who were unarmored or wore cloth padded armor.  But these weapons also had limitations.  They were very slow firing, especially in comparison to the Aztec dart throwers, slingers and archers who could literally rain missiles down on the small Spanish forces. The gunpowder weapons, though fearsome and deadly, like all black powder weapons, were great on their first fire, but prone to misfires as their users reloaded with loose powder and shot.

Finally, the core of all conquering Spanish armies were the swordsmen. Armed with Toledo steel versus cloth armor, light wooden shields and wooden club-like Aztecs, the swordsmen were the most effective of Cortes’ troops. I have four units of Spanish swordsmen, and I my add two more.

All figures are from Eureka, ordered from Eureka USA in Massachusetts.  They are great figures and I very much enjoyed painting them.  They are nicely shaped, and detailed enough, without being difficult to paint.

I’ll be moving on to my last two units of Aztecs, in the hope that I’ll have both twelve figure units finished by Sunday, a week from today. That will leave only the 36 Tlaxcallan warriors to complete.  My goal is for everything to be completed before Thanksgiving so I can turn my attention to terrain for this project and move on to other things. That is about a 250 figure turnaround since I began working on this project in April.  I’m pretty happy with all of it.

A few of my favorite projects

As Quetzacoatl Rampant begins to wind down, I’ve already started looking at some of many unfinished projects and what to work on next.  I’ve promised myself I won’t start anything new until at least next summer. My copy of The Men Who Would Be King, the next installment by Lion Rampant creator Daniel Mersey, arrived from Amazon yesterday.  I’m pretty sold on the Sudan Campaigns with all the various elements from Hicks to Kitchener, maybe even Tel-el-Kebir.

Another project, probably need like a hole-in-the-head.  I’ve done started lots of projects.  Parted with many of them too. 15mm WWII-couple of them-gone, sold them both. 15mm ACW, gave them a good home to an old friend. 15mm WRG Ancients and Renaissance-parted with decades ago. I only have a couple of 15mm projects anymore.  I have 30+ DBA armies I haven’t played with in years, plus a few unpainted for good measure. There is my 15mm Spanish Civil War army I’d like to rebase and perhaps play Osprey’s A World Aflame. I also have a bucket of 15mm fantasy figures I always intended to make into a Middle-Earth campaign built around the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

But my heart is really set in my 28mm projects.  I have more than I wish to name.  All of them have importance to me, and together with various air and naval projects will be what keeps me in the hobby until I can no longer see well enough to paint.

Even so, I have some favorites that are finished or nearly so, sort of. Maybe. Here are six in no particular order:


In 2011 I was utterly consumed by the Hundred Years War.  Today I only have an unhealthy obsession. While reading and painting anything I could get my hands on, I decided I ignored the naval aspects of the conflict and needed to do something about it.  After all there were the naval battles at Winchelsea and La Rochelle, and the decisive engagement at Sluys. I set out to acquire some very nice cog miniatures available from Outpost games.  Unfortunately they were about 3.5 pounds apiece, and needing about 80 or more ships began to consider a better way.

I decided to build them myself.  In the winter and spring of 2011 I did exactly that. I set up a cog shipyard, building nearly 100 ships.  I also built a half dozen galleys and all the terrain for the scenario.  British author David Manley graciously provided me with a beta copy of his medieval naval rules, and I was off to the races.  It was a wonderful accomplishment.  We playtested it once, ran it at Enfilade, and used the ships in a medieval naval campaign at Dave Schueler’s house for his annual naval games.  Just got to get those babies out some more.

It is a completed project that was all my own work.  Perhaps my proudest moment in the hobby.

Lewis and Clark and the Great Spanish-American War 1797-1810

No, there really wasn’t a Spanish American War 1797-1810.  But there could have been.  This project came about because I had another unhealthy obsession, the Lewis and Clark expedition from about 1997-2010.  After some reading Donald Jackson’s Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and running across the authorization of a Spanish force to arrest Captain Lewis and his followers, I decided there was a game in it. I tried it with mixed success at Enfilade and Drumbeat.

But the project really grew further reading about the Burr Conspiracy, the treason of General James Wilkinson, and some additional stuff about the Spanish frontier in America.  The country was so close to war with Spain before and after the purchase of Louisiana Territory, why not put together some forces for a hypothetical conflict.  I put together some Chickasaw allies for Spain, hundreds of militia for the Americans, and regulars for both sides. I also added some home built terrain.  The crowning glory was the game based on the Burr Conspiracy I hosted at Enflade in 2013.  It was simply the most interesting game I’ve ever run.

I have about 200 Indians, Spanish and Americans left to paint for this period.  I should probably just get ’em done.  Don’t see adding to it, though.

Any project with Daveshoe

I am blessed with some really wonderful friends.  Almost all of them are gamers of one stripe or another.  But our friendships go deeper than the gaming table. Dave Schueler is one of those guys. Whether we are talking games, baseball, politics or life in general, Dave is someone I want to grab a beer and hang out with.

We’ve done projects together for Enfilade at least the last ten years, and all of them have been memorable.  Dave is so much better at designing games than anybody I know.  If I have a harebrained idea, he can usually build a game around it that is balanced with intriguing options for both sides.  He is amazing.  And when I say projects together, I’m mostly the painting mule, because that’s what I’m good at-though Dave does his share and more.

The Channel Dash, the air attack on the Tripitz, a naval action in the Straits of Hormuz, hydroplane and air racing, these are some of the projects Dave and I have worked on together.  My favorite, however, is the 1942 Raid on St. Nazaire we hosted at Enfilade 2014.  We discussed it for years, usually over beers at the Elliott Bay Brewery in conversations that began, “Ya know, we outta . . .” The result-I became very familiar with the shade of paint known as Mountbatten Pink, and the game won best raid-themed game at the convention.

One last thing, Dave is always there to help me run games at the convention.  He always knows what I’ve got going on, and helps gamers walk through my crazy schemes.  He was there for the Burr Conspiracy game, a diplomacy/miniatures game which only allowed written diplomatic communications.  He helped out David Sullivan and I with our Fort Pickens game last year, an attempt at a convention style Ironclads game with simplified fort rules. Both went surprisingly well, but chiefly because we had extra hands.

We haven’t discussed plans for 2017, but I’m sure we will.  I think I have one more slot open. Maybe we should re-run an oldie but goody. There are so many to choose from. Nothing left to paint at the present time, except a dozen hydroplanes.  But there could be . . .

Mars and the Red Captains

I don’t know how many years ago it was, maybe as many as twenty, Mark Waddington and I began talking about our unpainted collection of RAFM figures for Frank Chadwick’s Space 1889 Soldier’s Companion Rules.  About ten years ago, or maybe longer, we agreed to get after it and turn it into a game.  All it took was a partner to really get me going.  I painted all my minis and got them ready to play.  But Mark was the true evil genius.  All I can do is paint, but Mark made the toys and caught the eyes not only of gamers, but of Frank Chadwick himself.  Museum quality air ships, steam tanks, earth-boring vehicles all magically appeared at his finger tips like so many shiny quarters

We were hosting games at Dragonflight, ConQuest, and Enfilade and regularly attracting crowds.  Games of 18 or 20 or more gamers would show up at our tables begging to play, with the two of us running games-we couldn’t swat ’em away. The game at Enfilade, however long ago, had 22 players, four GM’s and is the only non-historical game to win Best in Show.

But more than that, the Martian games really created a cottage industry of mostly South Sound gamers who wanted in on the fun.  We hosted regular games supported by guys who were quietly, but rapidly amassing their own RAFM, Parroom Station.  Venusians, Martians, European allies, various mechanicals, even Gene Anderson’s efforts to do the 1/1200 Sky Galleons of Mars in 28mm are all by-products of this project.  All the interested parties called ourselves “The Red Captains” for those non Martians seeking fame and fortune on the Red Planet.

Though our ardor has cooled a bit over the past few years, the interest never dies. Gene’s work was the last big thing, until our efforts to put together gunboat rules for the Canals this summer.  Still a project I’m proud to be a part of. Almost all of my stuff is painted.  About 40 figures of flying Martians left to complete, and a unit of steam-powered mechanical horse.  Less than 50 figures in all.


You almost have to be a native Northwesterner to understand my passion for this racing game.  It grew out of an air racing game designed post-9/11 when we were looking for a non-lethal game to run at The Museum of Flight. It morphed into hydroplane racing while a group of us were sitting around one Sunday afternoon at Enfilade, waiting patiently for the crowds to disperse.

Dave Schueler designed the game around a simple series of choices gamers could make constructing their hydroplane and driver, and in-game choices driven by probability as the game progressed.  I love running it.  I love playing it.  But most of all I love painting boats and promoting it to others. We’ve been fortunate to see the game played in other places, including the U.K., learned of through blog posts and other ‘net sources.

I really want to run a game at Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Museum in Kent.  I’d paint pretty much any boat I can.  I have twelve unpainted boats at the moment, including classic ’50’s and 60’s boats and the 70’s pickleforks.

The Hundred Years War

I’ve gone through various phases with the HYW.  I am completely fascinated with the history.  Every time there is a new book available I snap it up.  It is interesting, it is complex, and it has constantly evolving scholarship.  More than any other period, I am completely hooked.

That said, I’ve been working away on figures for this period for a decade or more.  By far, I have more figures for the Hundred Years War than any other period–probably 600 painted figures, with maybe another 400 unpainted. I started with semi-skirmish, looking for rules that would allow me to do some hundreds of small actions of the period.  I cobbled together a homegrown set of rules called Arrowstorm, mostly inspired by Arte Conliffe’s Tactica Medieval Siege rules. But then Lion Rampant happened, and I was completely sold on those rules with their ease of play and interesting quirky randomness.

But my real desire is to build, not only my semi-skirmish, singly mounted, armies, but armies for large scale battles.  My dream is to do Poitiers, 1356.  I have a fair number of multi-figure based units, but lots more are needed.  I also need a set of rules I’m comfortable with that take into consideration the uniqueness of the period. Medieval combat mostly gets rolled into ancients rules that mash everything together and decide that Mauryan Indian longbows that fought against Alexander the Great at the Hydaspes and 14th Cenury English bows are the same,  and had the same tactical use. I think that’s stupid and lazy. So I’ll probably end up doing something on my own. I’ve run a sample example using a Fire and Fury engine.  It didn’t work well first time out of the box–another game Daveshoe helped me with.  I’d like to try it again.

Literally hundreds of figures left to paint, and I can see myself acquiring more of the Perry plastics that are recently released.

There are lots more projects I didn’t write about-American Revolution, Maxmillian in Mexico, ACW Naval, air and coastal gaming.  I love them all, but I’ve already blathered on too long.


Bins of stuff that needs paint 




Playtest: Quetzcoatl Rampant

Today was the day, long awaited. David Sullivan, Dave Schueler, Dave Demick and I met at Meeples in West Seattle to try David’s adaptation of the Lion Rampant rules to the Conquest of Mexico. Last night I sat down and made some quick play sheets for the Quetzacoatl Rampant adaptation. . This morning I laminated them.I reorganized Aztecs according to the rules. I have thirteen units instead of eleven.

This morning I piled by prized collection into the car, and   I picked up Dave D. in Tacoma at 9:00, grabbed Brother Schueler in West Seattle, and we actually made it to Meeples before the store opened at 10:00

I knew the table space would be fair small, and I was okay with that for our first run through.  I love playing games-miniatures or boardgames-in the Meeples cafe.  It is terribly comfortable, if small.  The food and beer is tasty and cheap.  And because what we do isn’t typically what is played at the store, there are always folks interested in what we are playing.

I set up the table with the Spanish advancing on an Aztec village. The Spanish had a unit of horse, five of sword and buckler men, two arquebusiers, a dog pack, and a unit of Tlaxcallan allies. The Aztecs had four units of skirmishers, a unit of Eagle knights, three units of veteran warriors and two units of peasant warriors.

I didn’t have any expectations.  The Aztecs were pretty outclassed, but didn’t know by how much.  Let’s just put it this way, the Spanish won in a walkover. There were Spanish figure losses, but the Aztecs, though they pointed out about the same as the Spanish, were not able to do much to them.

We went over some simple changes that would balance out the rules: reducing the Spanish armor value by a point, improving the Aztec’s move, shoot and attack values, reduce the accuracy of Spanish arquebusiers.

Like I said, simple changes, and all we need is the opportunity to try it again. Would like to give the game a whirl on a larger table so we can cram all the Aztecs into the game. Can’t wait to give it a try.


Hey jerks, don’t lie to me.

Some things really bug me, and being dishonest and untruthful is one of them.

Before I leap into the issues I have with a certain manufacturer, let me first state what a great hobby miniature wargaming is, and how blessed I am dealing with business people, small business people, doing the best they can with a niche hobby, trying to stay ahead of a fickle market; so many of them are polite, prompt, respectful, helpful, and just really nice people. I truly appreciate that.  I’ve bought mail order, phone in orders to Great Britain, and made internet orders with dozens of companies across the U.S., in the U.K., and Australia.  I’ve never had any serious problems or complaints with any of them.  Some are faster than others, but all of them answered e-mails, kept track of and got out orders, and were completely honest about delays, back orders, and in one case even explained  a mold was missing and they couldn’t make one of my items.

But The Assault Group is simply contemptible. I placed an order on August 15th. This was after John Kennedy, my friend and owner of the Panzer Depot, and former distributor for The Assault Group in America explained they could be challenging to work with.  They had the range of Aztecs and Tlaxcallans I was really interested in, the dollar was significantly up against the pound, so I placed an order for $85.00 worth of Aztec enemies. I didn’t receive an order receipt from TAG with my PayPal payment, so when I hadn’t heard anything on August 21st, six days later, I inquired just to be sure they’d received my order-#4650.  I almost immediately received a response explaining:


Your order received on 15/08/2016 was posted today.

Thank you for your custom!

Best wishes,

The Assault Group


I waited patiently as Labor Day came and went and school started. Finally, last Friday, September 17th, I sent out an inquiry to TAG to both e-mail addresses I had. Nothing. They didn’t respond when I threatened a complaint through PayPal.

Today, September 22nd, the order arrived.  It’s been nearly six weeks since my order. That’s not good.  But what really pissed me off is the order wasn’t mailed on August 21st, it was September 9th, three weeks later.

Look, all figure manufactures operate on small margins with small staffs, if any at all. They get behind, they may work “real jobs,” and I am  perfectly understanding if someone gets behind.  All I ask is the truth, not some cock and bull story about “the figures are  in the mail.” The only vote I have is with my dollars, and I will not spend them with The Assault Group again. And you, dear reader, should know in case you decide to play lead roulette with a small miniatures manufacturer in Nottingham.

What’s on my painting table


The autumn winds are blowing on my Quetzacoatl Rampant project. I have 24 Aztecs left to paint with 12-24 Aztecs left to buy.  I have 19 Spanish left to paint, and 40 Tlaxcallan allies.  They paint up relatively quickly, so I hope to have the lot done by Thanksgiving. I’m even starting to look around at what to focus on next.  There is Dragon Rampant stuff to work on, hydroplanes to paint, AWI units that need building. I am never at a loss for things to paint. A quick look at my table shows some Spanish caballeros and a really big orc leader.

Music to paint to


I’ve made no secret about my love of the Beatles and I’ve pretty much put together my mini collection of 28 LP’s that cover all their Parlophone (U.K.), Capitol (U.S.) and Apple releases. But one album that caught my eye was The Complete Rooftop Concert.  You may have heard the Beatles did a concert on the roof of the Abbey Road studio in January 1969.  It was the Beatles last live public performance and included keyboardist Billy Preston, whom the Beatles met as a 16 year old performing in Little Richard’s touring band in 1962.

As I was poking through Discogs listings looking for live Beatles music, I ran across The Complete Rooftop Concert.  I was immediately intrigued.  It was an unofficial, unauthorized, i.e,. bootleg, recording offered by the Spanish label, Gato Gordo. I had to order it from Spain, and combined with shipping from Europe was about $35.00.

As records go, it isn’t much of one.  It is largely a set of studio outtakes and run throughs of songs that would appear on the Let it Be album.  There are three versions of “Get Back,” two of “Don’t Let Me Down,” two more of “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and one each of “Dig a Pony,” and their cover of “The One After 909.” Added on is a couple of takes of “Hey Jude.”

I’m not gonna lie, if you like bootlegs, this is the album for you.  The sound is uneven, the takes are raw, there are even some microscopic blank spaces in the recordings. So it sounds authentic.  But the “Complete” label is a misnomer. There are at least three or four songs from the 42 minute performance that are missing.  Even so, it is hard to mistake this recording as anything but an important artifact from the Fab Four’s career, as the curtain began to come down on one of the most important artists in rock and roll history. Think of this as the caramel drizzle on a fine dessert, unnecessary, but a highly desirable finish to something very tasty.


A second try at Canal Wars

A while back I wrote about our get together with 28mm gunboats and our shoot-out on the Martian canals. Today we were at it again.

In the six week or so since our last play-test, I’ve been busy with a cruise, school beginning and attention to lots of Aztec miniatures. But one of my tasks between our July meeting and today’s get together at the annual Fix Bayonets game da in Steilacoom, was to re-write a set of miniature rules for gunboat combat that fit with our period.

Re-write rules? Are you kidding me?  I immediately took a look at the rules set that began my interest in Frank Chadwick’s Space 1889 universe in the first place, Sky Galleons of Mars. Most of what I put together is based on Sky Galleons.with some adaptation to the canal milieu from the air.

I found the most important point was to determine hull size for each vessel.  Once that was decided it was easy to begin thinking about hit points, armament, and crew.  I decided that steam vessels had an automatic speed of 16″ and sailing vessels were 8″. The one rowing galley had a movement of 8″ with a ramming speed of 12.” Guns had a pretty long range, with the British guns having a clear advantage in range and damage points. The Martians were dangerous up close and looked to board.


British gunboats pass through the Martian line of attackers.

I didn’t really have a scenario planned, and was just interested to see who would arrive with what for our play test.  Needless to say, there were plenty of boats and we cobbled together a British convoy that had to traverse the table. The game only lasted about an hour and a half.  Most things seemed to work pretty well. The gunfire and hit location were great.  I allowed too much damage value to most guns, and I’ll lower those a bit. The critical hit charts seemed to work fine. We tried a couple of boarding actions, and they went well, but I’m not sure I’m happy with them.


The Safieh is boarded by a Martian Xebec.

Just for the record, the British sank one of the Martian vessels and damaged others. They also suffered a fair amount of damage and lost one of their gunboats and a transport to capture. But the game reached a decisive ending fairly quickly.

It was fun.  Now to build a real scenario and try it again.