Apparently I Was Mistaken

The Antrim barracks set up along the road and guarded by hedges and stone walls

What is it about promises and miniature wargaming that are so utterly impossible to tie to together. I stayed with the nothing new pledge for a week and foof, just like that gone.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last weekend I enjoyed a game of Rebels and Patriots at Eric Donaldson’s house. We played ACW in 28mm. It opened up an entire world of possibilities for me. I have a bunch of painted ACW figures from 30 years ago. They are nice, but I don’t paint like that anymore, and to remount figures is not one of my favorite things. Nevertheless, I’m remounting away. I hope to have a couple of units done by the end of this week.

Somehow, in the conversation that grew in the week that followed, David Sullivan suggested we do the Mexican American War in 28mm for R and P. Now, the smart answer would have been “I’m out,” right? But no, I took the bait like a Northern Pike and within 24 hours had an order off to 1st Corps in the UK for a bunch of Mexican regulars, followed by a smaller order this morning for some Americans. I’m sitting at about 100 figures for now, and am trying to hold the limit there at least until I get most of them painted. It is clear that wargame promises are made to be broken.

In the mean time, I’m just kind of joyously painting whatever. September was the month I finished every, all, absolute totality of my Irish Civil War figures. It was a nice feeling. I also put them to good use on Friday when Michael Koznarsky made the trip from Steilacoom to South Hill and played a game of Like Crickets But With Guns and we dragged out the ICW boys and played a cooperative game in the infamous Smyth Garage

The game was pretty easy and based on a scene from the 1996 movie Michael Collins with Liam Neeson. In that movie Collins leads a group of rebels to attack a Royal Irish Constabulary barracks with flaming clods of dried turf to drive out the defenders and capture the weapons and ammunition inside. In our game, we had four eight-figure units of the Antrim Flying Column to attack a house and outbuildings defended by ten RIC regulars. The IRA units were a mix of regulars and green militia. They had limited ammunition supply and there were rules for making, preparing and throwing turf torches. I let Michael make the important decisions, but knowing that movement in the game is pretty limited, I allowed him to set up the squads ten inches from the buildings.

My regular unit has crossed the stone wall and tossed its lone torch on the roof the barracks. The exchange of gunfire between the Antrim boys and the RIC was quite unfair as the coppers only needed a five to hit and IRA gunmen needed a six. Even so it was the rebels who won the exchange.

Michael chose to immediately begin making torches in a field fairly well covered from RIC gunfire. Even so, my militia unit lost a figure, checked morale and immediately hit the dirt for the next four or so turns. In gunfire exchanges, the coppers almost always rolled below average, while my boys always seemed to roll sixes.

The Antrim barracks are fully alight as Michael’s troops bump off the defender in the sentry’s station and move to surround the building.

It didn’t take long for the torches to eventually find their way to the roof of the barracks. With the RIC defenders driven by gunfire away from the windows, and the roof catching fire and the intensity growing each turn, it didn’t take long for the few survivors to surrender. The Antrim boys easily made off with their booty before the local Auxiliary outfit showed up with much heavier weapons.

The rules were fun and easy and surely see myself dragging them out again.

This final week of the month will be spent painting up some Spanish American War figures. I have John’s last unit of Spaniards nearly done as well as a good start on some Cuban rebels. Assuming they’re finished by Thursday, I’ll have painted 74 figures for the month, one shortened by the convention and convalescent period that followed. Not bad.

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