August is the best month

I haven’t posted much this summer.  That’s unusual because summer is when I typically get a lot of painting done, projects take shape, and I take lots of time to share.  Not so much this summer.  Though I have painted some, I’ve mostly really relaxed, watched a lot of Mariners baseball, played with the dogs, and now I’m back at school.

I have managed to get in some games.  I played some home brew ancients games.  I participated in an awesome ACW naval game using my Webb model and Sail and Steam Navies.  I ran one of my Louisiana games and was offered some great feedback for a scenario I plan to run at Fix Bayonets in September.  Last, I played in Damond Crump’s excellent L-Z X-Ray scenario, based on the 7th Cavalry’s Ia Drang Valley battle in November 1965.  It was incredibly fun, kind of a like a gigantic problem solving event.  I really enjoyed playing the NVA with Joe Waddington and Al Rivers.

I’ve also played a lot of board games.  Not only that, I’ve acquired a lot of board games.  Mostly the multi-player non serious games, because they are the most fun.  Generally I’ve stayed away from acquiring these games because A) they’re expensive, B) you need a bunch of folks to play them and C) they take up a lot of room.  Unfortunately, I’ve had a little extra money this summer so I’ve indulged my interests.  I bought a new copy of an out of print game (key words meaing lock up your wallet) called The Making of the President: 1960 on the Kennedy/Nixon campaign.  I’ve played it once and would have to say that along with GMT’s Twilight Struggle, using a similar card-driven system, it is my favorite game. I also picked up a used copy of GDW’s Tet Offensive from 1991, and with my birthday cash a copy of GMT’s Dominant Species on the coming of the Ice Age. Maybe I’ll include some reviews as I work through them a bit.

But I do paint as often as possible.  It hasn’t been every night, but I will get back on that track as much as possible.  I will feature pics from a couple of items I’m pretty happy with.  The first is a pair of command figures for my Poitiers game.  I know I haven’t talked much about this the last couple of years, but I will keep picking at it.  they are Arnoul D’Audrehem and Jean Clermont, the Marshal of France.  They each led a column of French mounted knights in the vanguard of the French army and gave the English archers fits trying to penetrate their well armored horses.  Unfortunately, fits or not, Clermont was killed and Audrehem captured.  The figures are from Old Glory, with heraldry matched as well as I could from online and print sources.

The second group of figures are Butler’s Rangers, provincial militia from the American Revolution.  They frequently teamed with Iroquois warriors to challenge American control in the over-the-mountain regions of New York and Pennsylvania, leading to considerable bloodshed among frontier settlers.  I have a mind to do some skirmishy games on the frontier there.  These are Front Rank figures.  I’ve had them for more than twenty years, and in fact I made one of two smallish figure orders to fill them out to their 25 man ranks. Butler’s Rangers provided their own uniforms,  hence the varying shades of green, including a few with traditional red-faced uniforms instead of the more practical hunting shirts.  I used four different shades of Vallejo green to give them variety. As always, Front Rank figures, with their deep creases and defined bulges, are a pleasure to paint.

I also picked up some AWI civilians and “Nervous Militia” figures from Perry Miniatures.  Pics to follow.

 

 

My board game renaissance.

For the last 30 or so years I’ve stayed away from board games.  Don’t get the wrong idea, I like to play ’em, but I’ve generally stayed away from buying them. I always admired my friends, mostly named Dave, that had big collections of board games and were heavily into game design.  But I felt I needed to make a choice–board games or miniature games.  There’s a reason for the choice.  The first is cost.  If I was going to sink a lot of money into miniatures and all the paraphernalia that went with them, I’d have less money for board games.  The other big problem is storage.  Miniatures, books, records and assorted memorabilia really sucks up all the room I have for keeping stuff. Board games compete for that space too, and, I confess, I’m pretty much all full up.

Twilight Struggle is a card driven game from GMT about the Cold War.  Two player game, relatively easy to play, but a fair amount of tension.  Very influential game system.

Twilight Struggle is a card driven game from GMT about the Cold War. Two player game, relatively easy to play, but a fair amount of tension. Very influential game system.

Nevertheless, I’ve played lots of wonderful games over the years, other peoples’ games mostly.  But in the last 18 months or so, I’ve taken more of an interest.  I’ve been sparked by our trips to Cafe Mox, and for whatever reason, I’ve just been intrigued with the topics of many historical board games.  I’ve probably bought or gotten as gifts one game a year over the past five or so years, But this summer II got some birthday cash, used some of my camp stipend and added a bit besides to pick up several board games the past two months.  To be truthful, I’ve played exactly none of them, but I have some plans to tackle them.

The first game I got was from a copy of the magazine Against the Odds # 34.  Right Fierce and Terrible is the name of the game and it is on the Battle of Sluys.  For those who know me, you realize I have a deep interest in battles of the Hundred Years War.  Sluys is a 1340 naval battle that greatly resembles a land battle of the era. It’s important because I also ran a miniatures game of the battle three years ago, and I wanted to see how the board game matched up with my game. So far I’ve read the article about the battle, but haven’t punched out the game or read the rules.

Right Fierce and Terrible is an Against the Odds magazine game on the naval battle of Sluys in 1340.  Ted Henkle brought this to my attention after I ran Sluys at Enfilade in 2011.

Right Fierce and Terrible is an Against the Odds magazine game on the naval battle of Sluys in 1340. Ted Henkle brought this to my attention after I ran Sluys at Enfilade in 2011.

The second game I got was a birthday gift from a friend.  It is Prairie Aflame about the Riel Rebellion in Canada.  My friend and I have both been intrigued with this topic for years.  We both seem to have an abiding interest in hopeless rebellions, such as this campaign and the Spanish Civil War.  In any case, I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it all, and I feel greatly remiss.  I think tomorrow, Labor day is the perfect time to look inside and get an idea of what it will take to play it.

Prairie Aflame, designed by Mark Woloshen for Khyber Pass Games is now available as Northwest Rebellion from Legion Games.  Not many games published on the Riel Rebellion of 1885, but this looks interesting.

Prairie Aflame, designed by Mark Woloshen for Khyber Pass Games is now available as Northwest Rebellion from Legion Games. Not many games published on the Riel Rebellion of 1885, but this looks interesting.

One game I have that I’ve played a lot and really like is GMT’s Twilight Struggle about the Cold War.  It is a CDG or card driven game.  I’ve actually played several games that use this mechanism, including We the People, on the American Revolution, and Making of the President 1960 by Zman Games.  I love the mechanics.  Twilight Struggle and Making of President actually helped me learn a bit more about the period as well, so I found this kind of game to be fun and interesting .  I was at Game Matrix one day and saw 1989: Dawn of Freedom, a political game about the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.  It uses the CDG system from Twilight Struggle, and is on a topic that really interests me.  I’ve looked through some of the rules, but haven’t punched it out yet.

1989: Year of Freedom uses the same system as Twilight Struggle.  The topic is just as fascinating as the Communist player tries to stay in power, while the forces of democracy try to speed the move to more representative government.

1989: Dawn of Freedom uses the same system as Twilight Struggle. The topic is just as fascinating as the Communist player tries to stay in power, while the forces of democracy try to speed the move to more representative government.

The last game that I got was GMT’s Labyrinth: The War on Terror.  This is another CDG game, an award winner from 2010 that is again derived from Twilight Struggle.  I read some reviews of the game and checked the ratings on Board Game Geek.  A real advantage of this game is that in addition to head to head gaming it is possible to play a solitaire game, though it is a tough game for the U.S. to win.

Labyrinth is another CDG game.  It has the virtue of being played solitaire.

Labyrinth is another CDG game. It has the virtue of being played solitaire.

While I won’t let board games take over my life, they are a nice distraction.  However, I will note my number of days painting for school year 2012-13 was down.  While I still paint most nights (I’d guess 250 or so days per year) that’s still less fewer days than the past. Most other nights I read quietly until bed time or spent too much time being unproductive on the computer.  This is one more evening activity I can take on instead of wasting untold hours Googling cures for male pattern baldness or Donald Trump’s birth certificate.    With our little home renovation, I now have a space big enough to play them.  I’m considering devoting one evening a week to working through a game at my dining room table, or getting together with someone to play a bit.