Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Star Wars'ish Encounter

Another tabletop battle with my boys leading the way.

This time it was space game that the middle-son wanted and we did a battle.

The attackers were a bunch of misfits from an Imperial dominated world that were given an AT-ST to support their attack on some bunkers held by Space Pirates who had hired Ugnaughts as 'heavy hands' that were terrorizing the good 'tax-paying consumers' of the Imperial goods and services.

Just for good measure the Imperial high command had sent along a representative to ensure that everything went correctly. His escort was a Dark Trooper Phase-1.

The situation for the defenders was poor to start with and went bad quickly as the AT-ST's guns tore a hole in the electric fence, then disabled the power supply for the rest of the fence.

Not wanting to be outdone the Dark Trooper used his jump-jets to decend into the trench that a bunch of Pirates had dug for support between two of their bunkers.

On landing he took out the squad leader then kept four Ugnaughts at bay while taking them down one at a time.

Meanwhile the local militia had advanced into the breach in the electric fence while the AT-ST's rapid fire cannon was keeping a squad pinned in a bunker.

The Dark Trooper was strong, but not strong enough as one of the Ugnaughts got a lucky shot at him and broke through his armor.

The Imperial Rep., not wanting to loose the situation as well as his bodyguard ordered the STAR DESTROYER in orbit to commence a bombardment on the nearby bunkers.

The end of the situation for the Pirates consisted of their fleeing into the last bunker as the Imperial Star Destroyer completed the ORBITAL BOMBARDMENT taking them out as the local militia and AT-ST fled the area!
Continuing a tradition

The annual gingerbread house was built this year.

My eldest dubbed it the "Candy Cane Inn".

With three young boys ready to consume it, I am frankly amazed that it has survived until today.

By then end of next week it will be eaten I am sure.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In a duelist mood...

I was surfing about looking for a way to see more of Sluga Gosudarev, or The Sovereign's Servant , as I was very impressed with the sword duel that was done in that film.

Along the way I was re-introduced to a great series of duels in a 1977 film: The Duelst.

Keep your sword sharp, your powder dry and may your die always roll triumphant!
Battle at the Wall

My middle son requested a Hordes 'like' game with the 25mm skeletons and Bretonians that I have.

We combined them with a couple of foam wall sections I have and came up with a bit of evening fun.

He setup behind the wall with some knights to charge out into the advancing skeletons.

After a horse engagement, the Skeleton men reached the wall and began battering on it.

The Bretonnian archers wore down the attacking skeletons then withdrew from the wall before the collapse.

Falling back from the wall section the defenders took up positions in a deadly that when the wall fell they were ready to shoot down the attackers.

My middle son was cheering his victory all night long!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Do try and stay away from this place!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Piece of the Funcken Collection online...

At long last there appears to be an online resource of the wonderful artworks of L & F Funcken.

The images from thier texts have served as inspiration for my troops and I am certain the troops of many table-top war gamers the world over.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

VIVALDI: WINTER, from with Venice in backdrop and performers wearing Carnival Masks.

Something to listen to while you paint.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008


For the benefit of my non-Canadian readers there has been a massive ammount of non-sense coming from this nation's capitol over the past few days.

Today, I got an interesting little ditty in my in-box and felt that I should share it with you, credit going to another writer, but the smile it is likely to bring will sit well with most english-speaking nationals.

Thanks to Chris Tibbs for this ditty. Perhaps it will bring a smile to your face.
Governmentium: A New Metal?
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet
known to science.
The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy
neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by
vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it
impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of
Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take
from 4 days to 4 years to complete.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay, but instead
undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy
neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time,
since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of morons’ promotion leads some scientists to believe that
Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.
This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money,
Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy
as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Painting update:

Many weeks have gone by with very busy personal business activities and some work files that have stolen all those vast 'free time' hours that had been foreseen.

Now I have an opening coming up and may be able to finish the 30 some odd Star Fleet characters as well as put the ending finish on another force of Hussars in mirlton.

Pictures coming once more is ready for presentation.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Like any good time there needs to be a punchline...

Laugh ON!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can I fight Depression?

The Canadian situation in Afghanistan is looking more and more hopeless.

I really, really hope that at least one senior officer is starting to pay attention to all of this and is considering an 'alternate' way out?

Is no-one paying attention?

The despicable slide into Imperium is getting depressing...

View this:

SHRUB and Co are now trying to get 'immunity' for themselves!

Nuremburg notwithstanding!

Wake-up folks, the gates to freedom are getting pushed closed...will the lock be put on before action takes hold?
Excellent Commentary:

From Der Alte Fritz:

One major difference vis a vis your analogies is that every four years, the US peacefully changes power. (In Rome, changes in power were usually done at the tip of th sword). We are about to do so again, and I dare say that under President Obama, American foreign policy is about to take a new direction.

Americans do not want an empire, we would rather go home and let the world the rest of the world take care of its own problems. The free world gets a "free ride" on the coat tails of American security and pays not a cent for the privilege. That's my 2 cents worth of wisdom.

In response I would like to say first that I think all game players are better at internal visualization than those whom do not 'game'.

Next I want to take you gamers to the time 'before' empire in Rome. The Republic, more accurately the late republic around 133BCE to 91BCE. This is the time when political changes were being pushed by the brothers Gracchi, while these reforms were not taken on at first the city state of ROME had to acceed to the formation of a 500 member Italic Senate at the end of the Allied war and this was the 'end' of the city state period.

The next changes came faster, and faster. From Sulla to Caesar was less than one lifetime...88BCE to 59BCE.

Now I ask those whom desire to answer:

What were the thoughts in the hearts and minds of the average "ROMAN" living in Tarentum, or Ostia, or ROME?
Was it a desire to rule the known world?
Was it to dominate the LATINS forever and through that domination march vast armies across continents (Africa, Europe and Asia) ?

Can we honestly say that some new empire is not or perhaps has not already been formed?

Take some time to Think.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A new take on an old Canadian War Poem:

In Afghan’s fields the poppies blow

between the landmines row on row

that mark Death’s place,

and in the sky

the unmanned drones bravely buzzing fly

scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.

Short days ago we lived felt dawn saw sunset glow

loved and were loved, and now we lie

in Afghan’s fields.

Take up our quarrel with which foe?
To drug lords whose flailing hands we
at tribal weddings throw
the torch ; what Rights do we hold high?

As we break faith with those who die

shall we not sleep,

while poppies grow

in Afghan’s fields ?

Letting Us Forget

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two very interesting videos about the reality of 'the die':


I have a very old set of dice that have extremely sharp corners and I still like them best!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Moving the chess pieces...

Who is really watching the board?

According to army times:

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

Some other blogs are speaking out about this:
Infoshop News
Common Dreams

The sad part about all of this is I have written, in other places, about all this before.

I see the current President, one G.W. Bush as a re-incarnation of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the one whom did 'take power' in Rome in the year 88 BCE.

If there is one thing that I have found true about many of the tabletop game players, especially the ones that play historical games; it is that they do have a 'grasp of history'. Perhaps greater than the grasp of so many of our contemporaries, whom do not see the understanding of history as of any great value, nor of intricate study of these men and women of the past.

One thing to consider when looking at events like those unfolding around us now...did the average Roman citizen in 458 CE really understand why the capitol had been moved to Revenna, and who Odacer really was? Did the average man in the street in Brundisium have a concept that the Roman Empire was dead?

I think not.

There was an "Emperor" Charlemagne in 800 CE.

Only in 1806 did the "Holy Roman Empire" finally end, when a Corsican bandit demanded that the "Emperor" Francis II lose his title to it.

Has a new piece begun to move now on our 'real life' board?

Are we even noticing it?
Grandfathter of Revolution.

We are often challenged in our tabletop games, especially when they are historically based, by having to take on the part of a 'villan'.

Recently I have been gaming much about the Imperial French years, 1804-1808. I have made a study of the roots of the French Revolution, which generated the soldiers and leaders which went on to conquer a continent.

The spiritual root of the French Revolution and the financial spark for it could be said to be the American Revolution, or the 'War for America' of the 1770's.

The child of that American Revolution was a new Republic.

In the minds of some this Republic is gone.

The heavy action started with the "Patriot Act" and now has accelerated with the passing of a financial bill, which according to at least one commentator has given the US President his own bank account, funded by the state.

I have studied much of the French Revolution and the chaotic situation that developed in 1792-96.
I have studied the removal of the Weimar Republic of 1932-3.

The recent events in the United States and my discovery of these videos have brought me to the point of needing to speak out.

Understand the past so as to affect the future.

For all my American friends and readers, this is real, this is now.

This is your time to act.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Congress of Erfurt.

From 27th September to the 14th of October 1808 the Emperor of France 'entertained' the Tsar of Russia in Erfurt.

There were balls, concerts and hunting parties, including one such 'hunting party' that went out after tame rabbits. When the hunters arrived the rabbits mistook them for their handlers and rather than running away the rabbits charged towards them, when the hunters went to attack their tamed prey the rabbits then split into two wings and flowed around the 'hard point' of the hunters and enveloped them from both sides. Hussars were then employed to beat away the vermin whilst the hunters beat a retreat back to their coaches, 'hunting' was done for the day...

Bonaparte appeared to have the plan to 'dazzle' the Russians and get the needed support to keep Austrian war-hawks from sharpening their talons. A tacit show of support was all he really got in the end as it was the Russians who were holding the better hand by 1808. Spain was erupting and going to take away all the gains made by the Grande Armee in the Iberian peninsula.

This image from the Napoleon film is good, showing Tsar Alexander with a smirk while Bonaparte seems to already be nursing his 'ulcer'...

Great Creative Force

While we may celebrate the military minds of the past well on the tabletop and in our writings, we should also keep in mind that great music was also created during these terrible times of war.

The 5th


Fire in the north.

Not only were the French busy in Spain and Portugal, their 'allies' in Russia were busy in Finland, and Norway.

A great northern war was raging across the frozen forests north of the Baltic.

I have plans to try and get Pete, of Duchy of the North fame, to get into some battles, but so far the summer work schedules have eaten both of our time.

Perhaps when it is more wet we shall see blue and green come to clash on the tabletop.

For now here are a couple of vignettes that I found on the web to tantilize you with.


The Spanish 'Revolution'.

Bloody attacks and equally vicious reprisals were the mainstay for the time from 2 May 1808 until the French were expelled in 1814. Neither side was doing anything remarkable, just the typical guerilla force striking out whenever the French felt 'safe' and having nasty counter-attacks coming against mostly civil targets by the Imperial forces.

This appears to have been a clip from the Napoleon series that was done in the early 2000's featuring Christian Clavalier as Napoleon and having other notables such as Gerard Depardieu, playing Fouche, and John Malkovitch in the role of Talleyrand.

Makes one wonder if the modern leaders have ever even heard of history, much less paid any attention to it...
Vimeiro 2008, a re-enactment.

So now the re-enactors are heard from on Vimeiro.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Convention of Sintra.

Many after-effects came from the much reviled (in Anglo-allied circles) Convention of Sintra.

One of the effects was the recall of the three generals, Burrard, Dalyrmple and Wellsley.

Sir Arthur survived the inquiry, no doubt due in part to such propaganda as is seen here.

Sir John Moore remained in Portugal, trying to take the battle to the French in Spain...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

VIMEIRO : 2008

A tabletop game played out on 24 August 2008.

Bereft of players I was resolved to play out the game I had worked towards for a year casting and painting 100's of redcoat soldiers for.

The battlefield was set out on my game table thus:

Seen here from the east looking west.
In the center can be seen the town of Vimeiro with the Rio de Alcabrichella flowing past in the gap between the two large hills in the area.

Since I was going to play this game 'solo' I decided to use the original Anglo-Portugese setup as indicated on this map (which formed the basis for the terrain).

Then after seeing these dispositions as Junot must have, I concluded that an attack on any part of the right flank of the British lines would be supreme folly, I also decided that the river would form a minimal barrier and permit me to essentially ignore the left 1/3 of the field. By setting a screening force on the left wing, with orders to simply hold positions, deliver fire into Vimeiro town and engage any forces opposite them with range fire only.

The right wing and right flank were where the hammer blow would fall. Not unlike Junot I decided to use a flank force to 'roll up' the Anglo lines. Unlike Junot I decided to make this force the Dragoon Division. I would advance in columns with the smaller Division of Loison on the far left (delayed so as to allow the Dragoons time to get into deep flank positions) and essentially rush the center with the Grenadiers. Yes I was 'gaming' this situation and essentially left myself no reserve. I had the advantage of knowing that there were no forces that could threaten me in other sectors, that driving at the enemy now was the only way to win...

Both lines of forces now deployed, with the French Dragoons off table...awaiting their arrival on the flank.(right foreground)

More of the deployment, this time from the Anglo-Portugese lines.

Vimeiro Town was well defended with an entire Brigade assigned to the task of the town directly, and another Brigade set to the task of the heights immediately to the east.

The exact location of the Allied Cavalry reserve was not given, only a description of it being 'reverse slope' and 'within easy call of Wellsley'. So I set them essentially right behind the commander and out of immediate reach of the French Guns, which would have to deal with the first line of Infantry before cresting the ridge line.

Wellsley in position with the 20th Light Dragoons and mixed Portugese Light horse ranged behind him...

As this was a French attack, the first move coming from the French should be no surprise.

The order was for Kellerman and the Grenadiers to advance first, pinning down the Anglo line west of Ventosa along the Eastern Ridge.

Here the Grenadiers with Kellerman in the center of the Division smash into and then right through the British line.

Over on the far left of the British lines, beyond Ventosa farm the elite 2nd Regiment was taking a pounding from the French guns, then once the brigades started moving they were obliged to retire from thier forward positions, this they did in some confusion...

Elite British troops of the 2nd Regiment cannot take the heat directed at the far end of the British lines, a place they were expected to hold long enough for Portugese troops to arrive in support.

By then end of turn three, or roughly 90 minutes of battle the situation stood thus:
The French left had remained refused, with both sides trading a few casualties due to artillery barrage.
In the Center the Anglo line was broken, but the Grenadiers had lost momentum in the process, and were now faced with flank battle with the 60th Rifles along with the Portugese now caught in motion in front of them. A Portugese Cavalry charge, their only action of the day, managed to halt the lead Grenadiers by forcing them into square.
To the French right, Ventosa farm had been reached and now was the scene of fighting amongst the buildings. The entire area was surrounded by French troops, though the 2nd Regiment had rallied and was now backing up slowly with part of the 95th Rifles keeping the French off their flank.
In the Allied rear the Portugese were caught while re-deploying, now their cannon was desperately needed to fend off the advancing Grenadiers, and at least part of the Infantry was detached as flank guard to permit the rest of the column to move to the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Allied right.

Table scene after 90 minutes.
Score French=5 : Anglo-Portugese=1.

A close-up of the shattered British line and the lines of Grenadiers that broke into the Allied center.

Over at Ventosa Farm the Voltigeurs and Rifles traded fire, with the 95th coming out on the short end of the exchange.

95th Rifles are forced to take on superior numbers of French skirmishing infantry around Ventosa.

An overhead view of the Allied rear, showing the Portugese in columns now having to turn to flank and face the marauding columns of Grenadiers.

30 Minutes later, on turn 4, the storming of Ventosa was accomplished. Three regiments of French infantry was enough to oust the stubborn British who surrendered thier colours in the process.

Storming of Ventosa.

In the center a hurculean effort by the 60th Rifles, combined with good effect from the Portugese artillery sent a whole formation of the Grenadiers from the field.

60th Rifles and Portugese Artillery shatter a French Grenadier Square, the remnants of the Portugese horse can be seen in the right foreground and right.

All the while near Vimeiro itself a brutal exchange of artillery barrage was being conducted. Eventually the toll became too much for some British companies, who having lost 50% casualties, turned to the rear and fled.

Vimeiro still garrisoned, while the covering forces were being steadily worn away...

The British left was taking action, now moving were the columns under General Hill, though it would be at least two more turns before they could all be in position to take action against the French.

General Hill crossing the Maceira River.

The supreme test for the 60th Rifles.

Not wanting to waste any more time in the center, Kellerman ordered an immediate assault against the 60th Rifles.
The green jackets fire was effective, then with swords drawn they met with the grim task of close combat.
Though the fight was close (7-6), the French were still on the wrong side of the scale this time. The Grenadiers fell back from the now jubilant 60th with losses they could ill afford...

60th Rifles and French Grenadiers in close combat.

At the end of turn 5, or roughly 2 and one-half hours battle, the score was France 8 : Anglo-Portugese 2. The situation was not looking good for the Allies.

For Junot the problem was one of maintaining momentum...until the Cavalry arrived, which did not happen as was planned, on turn 5.

Situation at end of Turn 5.

Vimeiro was still in Anglo hands and the muskets were now being added to the artillery carnage.

Vimeiro as seen from the Allied right.

Crisis of morale: French Grenadiers.

The fragile morale of 3rd battalion troops must not be forgotten. Much of the French force in Portugal was made up of recent conscripts and 3rd battalion troops. Even the Grenadiers of these forces would not have seen much action, certainly not against the disciplined red-coats. The failed morale roll of the Grenadiers driven off by the 60th Rifles caused them to flee...this started a general panic in the French center and saw the entire Grenadier Division retire from the field. This took pressure off the Portugese and exposed the left flank of the French forces only now taking posession of Ventosa.

Still no sign of the French Dragoons.

Field of battle after turn 6, French=9 : Anglo-Portugese=5

The British line now re-formed and faced the largest remaining threat to Vimeiro.

60th Rifles re-formed the British line, now the last unit on the left.

Their companions, in the 95th Rifles continued to face 5 times their own number, though now they were falling back to Vimeiro...

95th Rifles backing away from French lines.

Left with little other choice, Junot now orders a progressive advance to musket range on his left. Pressure must now be brought to bear on Vimeiro itself and the active British forces must be pinned so as to be unable to turn to flank and face the coming Dragoons...which had not yet arrived.

View of French advance in line towards British forces protecting Vimeiro.

Given a free hand, General de Brigade Thomiere chose to storm into the weakend British lines along the eastern ridge next to Vimeiro.

GB Thomiere's assault on the eastern ridge.

Facing Thomiere was the 6th Brigade under Brigadier Fane. His troops were only cobbled together into position, and were caught without prepared defences.

Fane's Brigade faces off Thomiere's.

The result from the clash of arms was a 'split-decision'. The French lost one battalion as did the British, however the vital Royal Artillery battery was captured in the process.

Thomiere sees victory on his left and fleeing troops before him, there are still reserves for him to advance with...

Direcly before Wellsley is a sea of blue coated French Infantry, he watches as some of the 95th recover next to his command position, while Fane's Brigade is broken down to only the 60th remaining to his left.

Wellsley watches a sea of blue wash over the eastern ridge.

The battle was progressing well for Junot, only one final stroke remained: the cavalry. Where were the Dragoons?

General Junot and staff seek signs of the much anticipated arrival of the Dragoon Brigade...

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Wellsley was facing the envelopment of the 6th Brigade and the 2nd was not ready to fight yet.
Further losses would also see him having to contemplate a retreat.

Wellsley turned to LtCol Taylor of the 20th Light Dragoons and pointed them at the triumphant battalion of French that had advanced past the Royal Artillery battery.

With a flash of blue and orange these gallant horsemen rode off to save the day!

They caught the 2nd battalion of the 86th Linge by surprise as they both failed to make square and to deliver any effective fire!

20th Light Dragoons under LtCol Taylor charge into the 2nd battalion of the 86th Line Regiment of France.

Lt. Colonel Taylor's blood was up, and the charge of the 20th Light Dragoons proceeded to smash through the 86th and straight into the 1st battalion. While they had been bloodied in earlier battle they were able to keep their cool and form a square before the Dragoons arrived. The 20th was not up to the task of smashing a steady, though hasty, square and they were routed.

20th Light Dragoons take their last action of the day, having destroyed the 2nd battalion they set their sights on the 1st of the 86eme Ligne.

At the end of turn 8 the situation was grim for the Allied armies.

Only the 60th Rifles remained in the center.
There were Portugese forming lines behind the eastern ridge, which the French now commanded, and they were all taking fire from French cannon and muskets.
The 2nd Brigade was now formed into lines and ready to take action, but to do so they would have to cross open ground in front of two French Batteries.
The defenders of Vimeiro had broken and run, there were now at least 800 French troops swarming into the town, with a further three battalions threatening to cut off the crossings of the river.
Only one glimmer of positive news could be found, there were no French Dragoons to be seen on the field. They had failed to arrive.

This failure to arrive made them count as 'casualties'.

The score was then a tie.

The result = DRAW.

Field of battle at the end...

What might have been...
The charge of the 20th Light Dragoons turned out to be the wisest choice in a desperate moment. For the destruction of the 2nd battalion of the 86th was the reason for the 'tie' score when the missing dragoons were taken into account.

Had the dragoons turned up on turn 5, 6, 7, or even 8 (!) then the result would have been a substantial French victory.

Perhaps it is these sort of considerations that drove Burrard & Darlymple to agree to the Convention of Sintra?

I certainly think that the French Army of Portugal had more firepower it could deliver, even after the unsuccessful battle that it had historically.

For my re-fight in the end it was the tenacity of Thomiere's brigade that saved the day for the French and at least kept it a draw.

The missing Dragoon commander, one GD Margaron would be facing more than just a little inquiry for his total absence from the field of battle.

French General de Brigade Thomiere and his valiant 86eme Ligne.

A quick review of General de Brigade Thomiere, shows that in 1810 he commanded the Irish Legion...this same Irish Legion saw greater formation in 1809, perhaps it is time I did some more French troops in green?

For service as both the Army of Italy and Irish Legion?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Clash of Empires

Key players are now something of a focus, since I should have to get on with drafting them.

For the French the most important will be Napoleon, however, interestingly enough, I will not need to have this player decided on first.

Others in the French camp are Marshals Berthier, Davout, Massena, Bernadotte, Bessieres, and Lannes. Also are Generals Oudinot and Marmont. Key alternate theatre players are needed to fill the roles of Viceroy Eugene in Italy (to start) and Prince Poniatowski (in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw). That makes about 11 players potential here, with just the Corps commanders (not including the Guard = which I had thought to put in the Bonaparte player's hands).

For Austria the players will need to fill a variety of diverse roles: From the Emperor Francis I (yes his role may be filled by a referee, but an active player could also be fun = especially if they are totally separated from the tabletop actions). Archdukes Charles, John and Ferdinand round out the imperial family. From the military side there are roles for FML Nordmann, Kolowrat, Rosenberg, Louis, Keinmayer, and Hiller; GdK Bellegarde and Lichtenstein (a very important role as this commander was very much in the confidence of Archduke Charles the Generalissmus); also FZM Kolowrat. Further consideration is being given to players taking on roles like the parts of the Aulic Council, chief of staff Mayer and more political positions like Metternich.

The inclusion of personalities like Metternich also lead to considering things like the Fouche, Murat and Talleyrand plot along with the ongoing Talleyrand informant role that was going on between Talleyrand and Metternich.

Other possibilities that may be taken on by players, or left in the hands of referees are roles fr Tsar Alexander (goaded on by the Doawager Empress), King Fredrich III of Prussia (or some members of the Prussian court who are both hawks and doves) and the ever-present British hands, offering cash or a landing in the low countries to 'mix the pot'. Whom might be chosen as the 'action' part for these forces are yet to be decided.

The action areas are also going to be left more to the players design, indeed I am toying with the idea of simply naming the Austrian rump left over in 1806 and permitting the players of the Austrian forces to re-organize, recruit and train as they please for three (relative) years during the pre-game setup so that they get the sense for all the troops under their command and the supply and services that such an army needs; for this was something that the Austrian commands at least were good at.

More to do obviously but I wanted to toss all this out into the mix as fodder for the coming disucssions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mirlton Mania:

A good painter over at The Grand Duchy of Stollen, 1768 asked about the coloured cloth on the mirlton.

This wraparound colored cloth is often depicted on minis as being somewhat 'unraveled' and flying about, which is likely to be the case once battlefield action has started. However the 'normal' condition of the cloth would be more as depicted in the image to the right. The cloth was normally kept up and clean in appearance, the 'wild flying' moment reserved for once the wind had done its job and released it into motion.

The cloth was not always coloured, however my researches has shown that the cloth is normally the same color as either the 'cuffs' or the 'coveralls'. Thus with many of the Prussian units, the cloth would be of such a dark colour as to be indistinguishable from the hat it was connected to.

Clash of Empires
War of the 5th Coalition

At least I have a catchy name for my Coalition Wars project.

For now more development is called for.

My initial view was to try and arrange a series of games connected to the 5th Coalition, perhaps with Empires in Arms or some other boardgame being used to 'set-up' the tabletop situations. This has changed.

I reviewed Bruce Quarries suggestions to use the ONC series of maps and permit the players to fully organize their own columns. With bases, cantonments, supply lines and the like spread all over the map. I like this approach as it permits more players to take part, and expanding the game is easier.

For now I am still seeking the primary players, for Austria and France.
Still seeking some referees for the 'big picture' stuff, that will be moderated using the ONC maps, possibly scanned and then plugged into some map control or manipulation software. I am still partial to incorporating cyberboard somehow as it will permit the administration of so much of the game to be done easier and to track what is where and when in a simple way. Simplifying any parts of this game plan will be critical.

Coming up will be a search for more players and the tabletop(s) to run the game(s) on.

One thing that another technical savvy gamer pointed out recently was to try and have webcams or other 'live' inputs for the players not at the table...possibly putting the cameras down low (for a more accurate perspective), then having them 'pan' about a bit so that the web player can 'scan' the field before amending his orders...

All of these items and more are on the table at this point, more to do...including casting enough Austrians for me to paint over the wet monsoon months.

Friday, September 19, 2008

5th Coalition Wars

More thinking about the 1809 Campaign Idea.

I have reviewed Bruce Quarrie's "Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature" again, and have resolved to work out the 'big picture' using many of the concepts he covers.

The main point being to use the Operational Navigational Chart - ONC series. It is 1:1,000,000 scale, meaning that a single milimeter on the map equals 1 km on the earth. This also makes controlling the far flung situations easier...though I am still considering working on a Cyberboard Game box to handle much of these functions simpler also.

Part of the desire to put it into some electronic form is the need to have many GM's should all the people I am contacting want to take some part...

Still musing and still taking in the emails about others thoughts regarding such a cross-continental plan.

I am also planning to use some Global Navigational Charts - GNC series to help 'manage' the really big picture!