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.


2013, the Year in Review

London War Room Cuera mounted Spanish militia.  Used on the frontier mainly to fight Comanches and Apaches, they are a large mounted element in my Louisiana project

London War Room Cuera mounted Spanish militia. Used on the frontier mainly to fight Comanches and Apaches, they are a large mounted element in my Louisiana project

It’s been a different year for me.  I tend to be fairly reclusive and hide in my house up on the hill.  Well, that didn’t change, but even so it’s been an interesting year.

My most important measure of the year is always what did I get done vs. what did I buy.  Normally I’m a pretty careful purchaser of lead. In years past I accumulated big piles of lead against future projects.  Bladensburg is an example of this.  I bought four boxes of Victrix figures three years ago, and only just finished almost all of them.  I have more painted Hundred Years War figures than any of other era with about 700 figures painted.  But I have at least that many unpainted. So, as with many of my friends and miniature wargaming colleagues, I’m a figure whore.  I’ve been better over the years.

I have painting goals of 400-600 figures per year.  These get harder to reach every year.  I tend to spend a little less time painting each year.  In years past I’d guess I painted an hour and half a night 320 nights per year. A bit longer on the weekends.  I would guess I’m down to about 250 days of painting per year.  Why?  My work schedule-newspaper deadline nights makes it tougher.  I have more fatigue–I don’t sleep particularly well many nights so I’m just too tired to paint.  Some nights I’ll just plop myself down in a chair and read.  But there are times when I really, really enjoy what I’m painting and I’ll paint until I’m just too tired to go on.  7:00-9:00 p.m. is my painting prime time, but I often am all in by about 8:30. I’ll have the Mariners on, unless I’m really frustrated with them, or the season is over, or be watching something on Netflix and just paint away.

I didn’t keep up with my painting log this year.  Tried, but just fell off the wagon.  My guess, however is that I didn’t meet my goals.  I believe I finished the year with about 350 painted figures.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  One is the fewer hours devoted to painting.  Another is that I only paint 28mm figures now.  No more 15’s, so no more cheapies.  I count a figure as a figure.  No bonuses for mounted figures, no bonus for extra size or extra effort. A tank, a 1/285 airplane, a cannon model, a terrain piece are all equal to a figure. So I fell short of my goal.

I’m going to keep my painting goal for 2014 right at 400.  I’d like to think my painting can be equal to about one figure per day. I fully expect my work will be mostly 28mm figures, but I may reinvigorate my DBA projects and try to at least paint a few of the six or seven armies I have.  Most of all my time will be spent working on my Louisiana Project.  I probably have about 200 or so figures left to paint.  I find them pretty fun to do, and they paint up fairly quickly, even the mounted figures.  However, I don’t have a deadline with them.  They don’t have to be done until they’re done.  It will allow me to drag something else out to work on, whether those are my Irish Civil War figures, some AWI units, my 1/600 ACW ships, or something else. My Enfilade obligations are largely painted, though I still have a bit more fiddling to do for Bladensburg.

Cuera were multi-armed with lance, shield, carbine and pistols.  So burdened, they were often unable to keep up with their more lightly armed enemies.

Cuera were multi-armed with lance, shield, carbine and pistols. So burdened, they were often unable to keep up with their more lightly armed enemies.

Two items I definitely want to work on aren’t particularly wargame related.  A couple years ago I bought the Perry “Death of Gordon” vignette from their Sudan range.  I love the movie Khartoum and admired the G.W. Joy painting the vignette is based on.  It is something a little bit different to work on, and I’m preparing it on my work table now.  The other item I really want to paint is a 54mm Imrie-Risley figure of Abraham Lincoln I’ve had for quite some time. I actually a lot of the “big boys” stowed away for quite some time, and some day I hope to paint them in my dotage.  I’m an admirer of Lincoln.  He is my favorite president, both for his principles and his ability to work within a greater understanding of what was needed to get things done.  Because Lincoln dressed very simply, usually in black, the challenge will be to bring life to the figure.

Something I didn’t do a great job of is managing my buying this year.  I was pretty good until August.  I earned some extra money for my work at J-Camp, and I promptly started spending like a drunken sailor.  Figures for the Louisiana project, the Perry Volunteers of Ireland, some War of 1812 Americans, command figures for the British for Bladensburg, and more I can’t even remember.  My goal is to at least break even with figure purchases-no more figures purchased than painted.  I don’t know if I did that this year.  I purchased some figures for Bladensburg, but many were for sheer spec, and I don’t like to do that.  My purchases should be for “just in time” production purposes and I feel like I failed.

These figures are armed with carbine or escopeta.  These figures are a bit crude, but highly paintable.  I really enjoyed working on them.

These figures are armed with carbine or escopeta. These figures are a bit crude, but highly paintable. I really enjoyed working on them.

I have a couple of New Years resolutions.  The first is to set some painting goals.  I would really like to finish all of my Louisiana figures.  There’s not really a deadline on this.  I’d like to run a game at Enfilade, but honestly I probably already have enough figures to do it now.  Realistically I’d like to have everything done by Drumbeat in September. I have nearly all the figures to do this.  I think I need a few more of the mounted Cuera militia, and a few more foot officers.   I think this also leaves me some time to pick away at some other painting along the way.  I have an AWI unit or two I’d like to paint.  Maybe some of my Irish Civil War figures.  Ships.  Planes.  My dance card is wide open.

My second resolution regards game play.  I don’t do nearly enough.  Mostly it’s my choice, so I am putting my choices out on right now. I want to play at the Game Matrix DBA nights twice per month.  My hope is I can morph that into a bit more than DBA, focusing on DBX gaming.  I’d love to, for example, play Sluys again.  In addition I’d like to commit to playing on the NHMGS game days the third Saturday of the month.  These are absolute musts for a couple of reasons.  First, I need to get off my damned hill and get with my gamer friends.  Don’t know why I’ve been so reclusive.  I also have way too much time and energy invested in my projects to not be playing with my figures.  I know I can do better.  It’s as though I’ve just become a bit of a hermit.

In any case, 2014 is shaping up to be a good year, and I’m looking forward to it.

Counting down to the end of the year: A look ahead

With the Bladensburg project behind me, I’ve been working on the Spanish-American Project.  To make it easy, lets just call it the Louisiana War.  I’ve managed to acquire quite a few figures for this project, and I see myself putting most of 2014 working on them.  I’m not quite sure how many figures I have, but I think when it’s all over it will be something like this:

Spanish Forces

6 X 10 Spanish regular infantry units

2 X 12 Spanish grenadier units

3 X 10 Spanish dismounted militia units

1 X 10 Spanish colonial dragoon units

3 X 10 Spanish mounted militia units

1 X 10 Mexican Hussar unit

2 X 10 mounted Comanche warriors (Spanish allies)

2 X 10 dismounted Comanche warriors (Spanish allies)

12 X 10 Chickasaw warriors

4 sections Spanish light artillery

2 sections Spanish heavy artillery

This is a lot of stuff, and quite a bit of it is painted, but very little, like none, of the Spanish horse is ready. The units provide the maximum flexibility for scenario making.  Some would not be combined.  For example, the Chickasaw would not be combined with the militia or the Comanches. In any case, there is plenty here to develop some scenarios.  Spanish uniforms remain nominally the same for the entire period, except for the Mexican Hussars.  It’s unclear this unit was ever raised to replace the frontier militia or Cuera soldiers.  It was suggested, but it isn’t clear the proposal was ever adopted before Mexico gained her independence.


12 X 12 Regular Infantry

8 X 10 dismounted militia (included rifle armed)

2 X 10 U.S. Dragoons

3 X 10 mounted militia rifles

4 sections light artillery.

Americans are pretty much same-same regardless of when or where they fight.  There are some serious changes that occur throughout this period 1797-1810.  After the Treaty of Greenville that ends the Indian campaign in the Northwest Territories, the army economizes.  The light infantry and light battalions go away.  The uniforms stay roughly the same for the regular infantry throughout the period, keeping red facings only, and the colorful designations of the sub-legions going away.  The army organizes the infantry into three regiments, downsized to two during the Jefferson administration (1801).  The light dragoons likewise retain their colors until Secretary of War Alexander Hamilton designs them a new uniform in 1797.  Their uniforms, issued in 1798, are green.  Green.  GREEN. With black facings and yellow lace.  Go figure.  They retain these uniforms until Jefferson disbands the dragoons altogether in 1801.  Rifle units are re-introduced to the army in the latter part of this period, but their uniforms are odd, so I’ll likely avoid them.

I’ve included some photos of some of my newly painted units. Dragoons and the Luisiana Regt 108These are the green-coated American dragoons I mentioned.  the lighting for these photos was poor, so I apologize for their darkness.  The are the Wayne’s Legion dragoons by Old Glory.  They do quite nicely.  I used German Luftwaffe Camo Green as the base color.  It’s a lighter green than the picture shows.  The flag is all hokum.  Nobody knows what a U.S. dragoon flag looks for this period.  The earliest recorded U.S. cavalry flag following the Revolution is for a militia dragoon flag in 1819, and seems unlike most other cavalry flags. Thankfully you can’t see it in the dark.  I went with a mid blue flag with scroll work similar to War of 1812 infantry battalions in red.  It’s possible I’m just wasting my time doing a flag at all, but one of the figures does carry a pole for a flag. I actually really like the way these turned out.

Dragoons and the Luisiana Regt 110Dragoons and the Luisiana Regt 112

These two units represent the grenadier company and a fusilier company from the Luisiana Regiment.  This was a trained, disciplined militia unit raised in the New World.  They are RSM figures cast under license by the Dayton Painting Consortium.  They are simple, straightforward units, as most Spanish units are.  They tend to be white, usually with colored facings, waistcoats and trousers.  The Spanish militia in North America were chronically understrength.  My regiment will consist of four companies including a grenadier company that is a bit larger than the fusiliers.  The Lusianans are now complete.  The next regiment will be a mix of two companies from the Irish Hibernian Regiment in their red regimentals and two companies from another militia unit.

I’ve primed my first mounted militia unit.  I plan to complete it during the Christmas break. I’ll post photos when I’m finished.