I make my life needlessly complicated. That’s my own problem, and I’m not bitching about it. Not much.
I keep three important calendars. The first of these is the school calendar, which extends across two actual calendar years, and contains all my newspaper and yearbook deadlines, grading deadlines, professional development days, school holidays and a host of other this and that. Then there’s the real world calendar, the one that normal people go by. You know, January 1-December 31 that has my wife’s birthday and our anniversary on it. 22 more shopping days until Valentines Day. Our vacation is scheduled for July 5th. That calendar.
But my gaming calendar is built around Enfilade, that awesome miniature gaming convention held Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Olympia WA. I love Enfilade. I also love planning for the games I’ll host at Enfilade. As we approach the convention, I tend to take stock of the year’s accomplishments and begin thinking about Enfilade ’19.
I think I’ve shared a lot of what I’ve done, and made myself little promises in the form of blog posts since last June. Most of them didn’t happen, but I honestly think those little promises help energize me and keep me painting all year ’round, even if it wasn’t quite what I said I’d do.
One of the tasks I took on was working with my Louisiana Project and transformed it into America Rampant. That meant remounting some 450 28mm figures, which is always a challenge, at least for me. I’ve known fellows who truly enjoyed the remounting process–for me, it’s a bit like enjoying mononucleosis. Nevertheless all figures mounted. I also cobbled together a set of rules based on the Men Who Would Be King by the Daniel Mersey School of Wargame Rules.
I ran a few games, enjoyed them, but things kind of came to halt when word came out that Mersey and his pals would be releasing their own TMWWBK variant for conflicts in America from the French and Indian War through the American Civil War. I think we’ll all be on the same page, and I’ll pick things up again when the rules are released in 2019. Look for me to include some of my American Revolution figures and a lot of my unpainted ACW figures as David Sullivan and others commit to the rules.
David Manley publicly released his Thunderboats! variant, “Mad Wet Max” in the fall of 2018 and Dave Schueler and I were immediately intrigued. Intrigued enough to get in on all the fun, and I’ve done that. I’ve bought some Matchbox boats, and have written about cobbling together eight combatants for the rules. We’ve run the game a couple of times and learned from each play-through. I’ve recently added armed spectators which was also a whole lot of fun. This project, while relatively small, is finished unless I feel compelled to add more boats. We’ll see. This game is featured at Enfilade Friday night and Sunday morning.
Last spring, as I was working on “13 Days Goes Hot,” the game Dave and I ran on the Cuban Missile Crisis for Enfilade ’17, I began picking away on planes for the Falklands. It was the big project I worked on for the summer into our house remodel. By the end of the summer, however, the project was more or less done. About 50 planes, with the majority of them Argentine. It was fun to learn a little something about this modern air war and I never cease to wonder at how much the Argentines accomplished with an air contingent that was largely obsolete. We ran our game at the Museum of Flight, and learned from that. We’ve got a full house for the Battle of San Carlos Sound mid-day Saturday at Enfilade.
Sometimes an idea for a game takes root and grows into something much more. At last year’s convention, Dave suggested the attack on the Illustrious, which was a series of air attacks on the task force built around the aircraft carrier that covered convoys bound for Malta and the eastern Mediterraneanin late 1940-early ’41. The more I learned about the campaign, the more I saw potential for something much larger, a Malta campaign. Another set of David Manley rules, Airwar 1940, sadly unpublished, sealed the deal for me. My last blog post specified the planes involved and I’ve completed about half of them.
We’ve played through the Illustrious scenario a couple of times, and it will be shared with the convention crowd on Saturday night at Enfilade. We really like it. But more than that, we think the Malta campaign can draw in some semi-miniature playing friends and involve a wide variety of scenarios and aircraft. It has my immediate attention and that of all my brushes and paints. Plan for lots more pixels on this one. Dave and I hope to host our first campaign game in July.
Another project I undertook for this year was to hopefully join the support for the wildly popular Dragon Rampant rules. I ordered the needed figures from Eureka USA and I’ve been painting away. I kind of thought they’d be done by now, but Malta has usurped their time. Still a little left to do, painting these guys have also drawn my attention back to two more unpainted armies for these rules–Orcs and The Riders of Rohan. Something for next year. Look for a June post about the completed Hawkmoon project.
This hasn’t been a year of big figure purchases, except one. I bought Dave Smith’s collection of 1/300 planes in August. It’s a huge bunch of planes, well over 700 across a wide variety of periods and nationalities. Dave’s planes found their way into my Falklands game and my Malta project. Some I just suited up and pinned, others I’ve stripped and repainted to match my needs. I’ve sent a few planes off to Dave Schueler. Some I just look at and think about the someday that will get them done. Yes, I continue to buy planes, but Dave’s Bounty, as I’ve taken to calling it, has fueled many of my plane buying and painting decisions. It was a great purchase, and I appreciate his willingness to part with them.
For the remaining couple of weeks, I’ll give some painting time to more planes. I’m currently working on some Me 109F’s in North African colors. When they are done I hope to work on some Me 110D’s which played a prominent role in the air war over Malta in 1941.
But more important than either of these is making flight stands. This may seem like small potatoes, but no flight stands, no game. We had stands for Mustangs back in the old days, but Airwar 1940 has different requirements. Mustangs required each plane to have stands for each altitude level 0-6. Airwar 1940 requires only a low level and a “normal” altitude. One of the reasons we can squeak more planes into a game is fewer altitude levels and stands. Anyway, I have to make 42 stands-21 at each level. So far I have 16. The good news is they go pretty fast.