Monday, December 31, 2012

The Archetype


That simple.  Haven't seen that movie in a lot of years.  A lot.  But it resonated deep within my imagination.  Just finished rewatching it.  And, clearly, that movie is one of the key inspirations to my Wild West figure collection.  Certainly, those other movies mentioned at the head of that particular page were key inspirations as well - but they provide the comic relief.  Chisum guides, in so many ways, the more 'serious' game.

I don't plan to stage refights of the Lincoln County War but it will inspire a fictional campaign that will travel across as many table top actions as life will provide opportunity for.

Oh, and that AWI game for tomorrow?  Not happening, misinformed informant; guess you'll just have to wait for more photos.  Do hope to get some painting done tomorrow and maybe I'll snap and post some shots of what I get done.

Almost time to go wake the wife so we can celebrate the turning of the New Year before she goes back to sleep to get up early and work tomorrow.

So, for all those who visit here: A safe and happy new year to you all - and may you play enough games to look back fondly by its end.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Latter Links

Over to the left are a bunch of links, most newly added as of the date of this post.  All of them are United States based so far.  Nothing against others around the world; I just decided to start here in my own home base.  If you know of others that should be there, please let me know.  The only rule is that they need to have either a strong focus on 15 mm or be otherwise somehow special and worthy of including here.  And, for now, I want to list first those who call their home the United States (though Canada might get a nod).  The site for Major General Tremorden Reddering is, of course, one of the special ones.

If all goes well, I hope to play in an AWI game on New Year's Day and will try and bring along the camera to get some nice photographs in order to post here, well, under the AWI tab.  If it happens, I expect the game to be in 15 mm.  Certainly hope it happens because that would be a great way to start 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

15 mm Sedan Chair!

Alright, it is a bloody long name for the link (under the hood for you, though), but too cool not to share:

Black Hat's Marlburian Sedan Chair

Just found this tonight while roaming around the web.  And to think, only days ago I cast my imagination tab into purgatory status.  Perhaps this item will revive some interest in me to keep this going.

What with the late autumn and now winter rainy weather, I've found myself spending more time posting here than I expected.  Just not really getting into photo mood yet.  Part of the challenge has been the holidays and a much bigger part has been getting ready for some contractor work on the house and needing to shove so many things "off to the side" until this gets done.

Well, having found and shared with you the sedan chair news, I'm going to slip back into the web for some more searching before stumbling off to dream of miniatures who paint themselves while I sleep.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On the trail of THE Major General

Ah-ha!  Yes, indeed, I have sleuthed out the current location of Major General Tremorden-Reddering.  And I've found clear and unambiguous evidence that he has returned to gaming - or at least has a desire to do so.  The question is - what do I do with this critical intelligence?

More importantly, courtesy of a particular professional on-line linking service, I find we are separated by but three degrees of digital latitude.  Oh, what to do, what to do?  Do I invade his privacy in order to guide him to the light of understanding how great his value is in the gaming community (as if he didn't know already!)?  Or, do I leave him to languish in obscurity?

How say you all who enter here?

...battening down the storm shutters...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Erudition Addition

Nice to know I still have flashes of brilliance!  Or at least a good idea.

If you'll take careful note of the change to the tabs for all of the various and sundry pages here, you will note the addition of parenthetical expressions wherein there is either a number or a dash or, in a couple of cases, a number, a slash, and another number.  What these indicate are thus: the dash means there is only the original and undated post under that tab; the solitary number (no double digits yet) indicates how many dated posts there have been but not including the original post (didn't start out dating them and still digging around to see if I can resurrect the original dates - though not of any particular importance); and last when there is the slash followed by a second number that records how many photographs there on that page.  (Yes, yes, I know you all want more numbers after the slash - and I do as well but life continues to be in the way.)

The whole purpose of making this change is so that those of you who come here to visit from time to time can quickly determine whether the pages of interest to you contain new information or photographs or not.  I leave it to you to remember what the number was the last time you were here.  Part of what motivated this idea to pop into my head was being slightly annoyed at a favorite manufacturer's site not having any easy way to determine if they've added product or not.  And a secondary purpose is so I can keep similar tabs on what I've been up to.  While I figure I have a decade or three, hopefully the latter, before I enter into my dotage, there is always those moments when the mind wanders unavoidably.  In my case it is not usually the curvature of the earth that causes my mind to wander - just curvature, one of life's finer points, that.

So, you are all quite welcome for my offering you this munificent boon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

And the beat goes on...

Added the listing for the Indian Mutiny for those inclined to study in detail the evidence of my hobby oriented derangement.  Closing in on having most of them up here, quite a task.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Posting I Have Gone

Well, just in two days I've listed my figures under four tabs - the Sudan (only broadly brushed out the native side), the Musketeers, the Boxer Rebellion, and the American Civil War.

And I've been considering taking down the Imaginations tab.  I joined a yahoo group devoted to that and got so many zany replies - and so little of helpful consequence - that it caused me to reconsider.  Besides, I'm thinking to add in an old interest that has resurfaced lately.  I just might get back in to building a collection for the Seven Years War in Europe.  I loved playing that era with Mike Nemechek's Volley Fire rules.  Since I still have the rules, I only need the figures.  But if I do go that route its going to be small scale, either Baccus in 6 mm or Irregular in 2 mm.  That decision, either way, is out on the horizon.  Not as if I don't have enough to keep me occupied already!  Oh, and on that whole imaginations concept, I still might play with it but not in the way others do.  Might even mix it up with the Seven Years War and have an imaginary nation's force to put on the table - but not with the level of effort some put into such things.  I like to keep things simple.  Except when I go shopping for miniatures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Well, now I did it!

I hope.  Decided to open the blog up for commentary - with some hesitation.  Like the idea of people being able to comment as long the comments are appropriate.  Do worry a bit about the unsavory side of life inserting itself and, if it does, this is a feature that might go away.  But hopefully that won't be an issue.  As I have time, I tinker a bit with the structure of this blog.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Travesty Repaired

It occurred to me today - well, yesterday - that I haven't made an important link and acknowledgment.  The link is to the left.  The acknowledgment is to Richard's WarIn15mm.  While I started my collection and had in mind all of the collections I have long before I ever heard of him or encountered his site, this very site is absolutely inspired by his.  Hope some day I can have as many painted figures as he does.

There, that's taken care of.  And, wow, I actually put some paint on figures this week!

And while I was at it, I decided to add the widget that shows how many page views to the site.  I continue to be surprised at the number of views.  Don't know why I'm surprised, but I am.  Happily so. But so.  Now I'm off to explore a link from WarIn15mm I just saw.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting over it.

As in getting over that slump in the previous post.  I've pulled out some old issues of hobby magazines and, like a familiar friend, they've helped to get me back on the right track hobbywise.  Still not planning to add new figures for the time being, beside the planned ones.  Will be a bit of a wait for the one pack I've ordered that completes one collection.  And it will certainly be after the holidays before I order those other two packs that will finish off the last "planned" collection.  And I'm nostril deep in my model railroading universe for a while.  And until that gets resolved, there isn't likely to be any painting of figures going on.  But there is a schedule change at work that takes place in January that will permit me more time to focus on getting things done - or so I hope.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Enthusiasm, Wax, and Phases of the Moon

How'd the poor old moon get dragged into this?  Well, it wanes.  Some times I am enthusiastic about this hobby and sometimes that enthusiasm ebbs.  Recently - and I can thank a Thoroughly Muddled Prat for this - I've found it on the waning side of the equation.  And that's okay.  I'm sure I'll get the carnuba out eventually and polish things up a bit.  In between now and then, I find myself focused on my other hobby of model railroading.  The nice thing about that hobby is it can be enjoyed without the interference of others.  I can just merrily go about building my own little world to the best of my ability with no need to find an opponent.  Indeed, in that world, it's not about opponents at all but about finding people of like mind - one heck of a challenge when you consider the number of different scales (familiar?), the different eras, and all the different railroads.  And if I don't find a like mind, I just keep on building and enjoying.  It has the advantage of offering a completely solitary and fulfilling activity.  Or, it can offer plenty of social interaction - even with those not of a like mind but just a genial approach to the hobby.  We can certainly learn a lot from that mind set in our hobby.  Sure, lots of congenial friendships in ours but also way too many strident voices and really annoying individuals.  (Do hope I'm not in the latter category for too many folks!)

By the way, my interests in that hobby focus on the Pacific northwest in the 1920's in N scale.

Despite that one annoying individual and a few sad supporters of same, I really suspect my funk may stem from a different source entirely.  It may be that it is because I have very few packs of figures to order to be able to say I've collected all the figures I could ever need or want.  Sure, there may be the odd figure to come along.  But, really, with one pack recently ordered and two to be ordered soon (hopefully), I can truly say my planned collection is complete.  If I move forward with mountain men that might change a bit.  And there is the pending range from Blue Moon for gangsters which I might delve into, might not.  And I've more or less given up on finding a good range for German East Africa - not the hope, just don't think it will happen.

Okay, that might be the source - but no question the catalyst was a loud mouthed individual easily mistaken for a burro by another name.  If I were to abandon this hobby that is sure one part of it I would not miss.

No, no, not planning on any abandonments.  Just thought I'd rant a bit.  There is a silver lining to this.  A certain place I was spending (wasting?) too much time in has been relegated to a low down also ran place to visit.  And, naturally, the fault there is all mine; not like anyone was coercing me to spend time there.

Up early tomorrow so time to go (actually, well past time).

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Return of the Terrainiac

Below are some photos of the terrain I am working on for the club's next project - something called Dust Tactics, a World War Two alternative of some sort with a sci-fi component.  Not really my thing but one must contribute so I signed up to help out with the terrain.  These are just shots of the terrain in the rough.  A bunch of tree bases being coated with sand, a ridge line, and a river, only part of which will be used in the game - the balance allow the river to have varying configurations for other games in the future.
Above are the base boards for the river and ridge line all cut out and laid out.  From one end to the other it allows 18' of river and ridge line.  The ridge line is the T at the far end.
 A slightly closer in view that shows the two confluences designed into the system.  The closer one on the left has the extra one foot extender that allows the system to be either dead center on a five foot wide table or offset to left or right on a six foot table (the extender will be 'flow neutral').
This shot, above, shows the ridge line with options.  It can be a simple three piece ridge five feet wide or it can extend to six feet or be used by itself with the short add on piece (by itself above) and the two end pieces.  Then it becomes about a seven foot long ridge and can be placed at an angle or right down the center of a table.  That piece just below the ridge line is for an "artesian well" where the river gets its start.  Also, below the next piece (an island in the river) is an 8" section, there are three of these, one of which will be a ford.
 This is a reverse shot of the river and ridge.  And I will note here that the river has two curves in it, two pieces each that need to be used together.  So, the river can have confluences, fords, an island, curves, and even some straight sections.
 The above shot is of the 36 tree bases, includes six sets of "jig saw" bases designed to be used together but can also be separated and 9 independent pieces.  Need a long forest?  It's available.  Can put together quite a variety of forests with that set up.
 And this shot shows the baseboards selected for Mike's game, the Dust Tactics.
 And speaking of that 'devil', there he is with those pieces with the insulating foam glued on and the river sections carved out.  The ridge is just blocked in for now.  We had a time deadline of having this ready for a play test this weekend.   Once the play test is over, the river and ridge come back to me for completion prior to the first of the many outings Mike has planned for this convention game - four or more.
 Just a different angle.
And, last, a reverse shot where you can see the "blocky" ridge.  It will be a very different affair once I'm done with it.  As will the river, for that matter, since only the inner edge of the river has been sculpted so far.  Plus there's all those other pieces to bring into the mix.  Tempest fugit.

So, no, I've not abandoned the blog.  Just busy in other directions.  And may not be posting again until after the holidays - but you never know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rewarding Patience!

No, not a character in my Imagination, but your patience in waiting for something new here.  Below are some photos of some of my French and Indian War figures in mostly incomplete status - and a few shots of where I do my painting.
 Above is an overview of the train and the inland water transports for both sides, those baggies on the right (more on the left) are the higher command - less the recently added Blue Moon figures.
 This is the British half of the train.
 And the central area which has some items for both sides (like the pontoon wagon).  Note the small ship on the right front with only one mast - the end goal for all four ships to make them into my version of a river boat.
 This is the French side of the train - a variety of wagons and carts and limbers - also Hallmark's lovely coach.  In the left background are some naval guns and crews and the figures for crewing the river boats and a raft.
On the workbench are four figures, one per unit, being painted to match the figures behind them, or as close as I can get - many years apart - so all units meet a common standard.
 This tray is the unit underway - French militia.
 This shot is an overview of my painting table.

Those first photos also show the model railroad I am building - yes, I am crazy enough to have two modeling scales.  Or, am I wise enough?  You be the judge!

And Snoopy?  He is the local painting inspector and provider of inspiration.

 That's all for now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


...of Anachronism.  The fine folks of our prosperous town would like to welcome you to our county.

Meaning the civilians are now all listed under the wild west tab.  Heroic and villainous types up next.  When?  When I get an extra moment.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Woo-hoo, up to three followers.  Hope they aren't the only tallying up the page views or they've been busy!  Somewhere around 2800 last check.  Doesn't really matter.  But, welcome to all of you - some of you belatedly.  Since Google changed the design mechanisms for the blog I'm not sure what I've allowed for followers but will dig into it deeper at some point - just don't know when that point will be. And might even figure out how to make the counter visible to all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep them doggies rollin'

Yes, another installment in the wild west listing, but it's not a herd of cattle rolling along but the wagons and carts and such.  Scroll down to September 19th in the Wild West tab to get to the additions.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wild Lists West

Take a moment to click on the tab above for the Wild West and scroll down to September 15th for a look at a listing of my wild west collection - or at least a start of the listing.  And, as you read, keep in mind I already have every figure listed.  Do need to paint most of them but that's starting soon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

War whoops!

Well, not yet, but a few photos in the French and Indian War page on some recently completed terrain.  Photo does show a need to use some dull cote to tame the sheen.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


It took until yesterday until the figures made it into my hands but worth the wait.  I now have the last of my French and Indian War figures - the native villagers and the civilians from Blue Moon.  And from the same firm, a half dozen native huts and long houses to create a couple of villages.  Got a couple of buildings - something I will be getting a lot more of from same company.

And almost all of my Musketeer figures arrived.  A bit of an oops that is being remedied and once those arrive I will have them all.  Nice!  And many of these figures will have a variety of uses in other areas - things like the coaches and the civilian figures, especially the women.  Imaginations for certain.

Some more tents to round off my Robin Hood and Viking era setup.  And then there are some very nice barriers - meant for the Texas War of Independence (the Alamo) but quite useful in other ways.  And speaking of those TWI figures - MOUNTAIN MEN!  Yes, I can sort out at least two dozen figures that will work.  Now I just need some appropriate native figures to tumble into the mix!  And beasties, too.

Then there is the cavalcade - of wagons to add to my old west and, maybe, see some use in ACW actions.  And another set of Blue Moons wild west furnishings for inside buildings - really cool stuff there, the sort of things to make those who play with larger figures jealous.  I love it when that happens after all those years of us 15 mm folk feeling that way!

There may be more that I can't recall since my brain is tired but one little tidbit for you to consider - maybe by the end of the year there just might be some figures toting tommy guns and wearing fedoras climbing in and out of vintage conveyances.  Did I say anything about prohibition?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's too long...

To wait.  By this hour tomorrow, if all goes well, I'll have a nice little package full of figures from Old Glory/Blue Moon and that much closer to having all the figures I'll need - not all, but much closer.  Go on, admit it, you know that feeling of excitement and anticipation, like a kid at a certain season.  Yup, I'm there.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yee gads! Is that an actual photograph?

Why, yes, kind sirs and others, it is indeed an actual image.  Not new.  But new here.  This is a shot of my herd of buffalo - and while the photo has been retouched (badly) every buffalo you see is an actual model.  Clearly, of course, there is still work to be done on texturing those bases.  (sneaking back in to note that there are thirty-eight bases with three beasts per base, that's 114 critters folks!)

Don't have time at present to add more but I wanted to give some evidence that there will be images here.  Well, maybe not right here on this part of the blog - but there will be many more over time.  Can't promise I won't move them around.  And maybe even delete one here and there as the need or the mood strikes me.

I must say, I hate it when those poltergeists show up in the backgrounds of my photos.  AWAY, you nasty demons!  Or whatever you are.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Heavens to Betty-Boop.  Two posts in two days - and in the same month, mind you!

What is up here?

Well, I am in the mood to herd words, I guess.

If you've poked around here you've probably found a few hints of narrative in a place or three.  But what I need to do, or want to do if you prefer, is start getting a solid narrative line for each of the periods I game or have figures to game with at some point.  This means a main character or two and some sort of history for each and something to propel them down the "road to adventure" so that games have something to link them together.  Hey, a tapestry!

My all time favorite song with vocals is Carol King's Tapestry.  Why?  Well, it just resonates for me, from first listening.  Still does, too many decades later.  But think of it this way, my goal is to weave the threads of story, the warp and woof, into a many colored tapestry, like the man with the coat yellow-green on either side.  And for those of you thinking I've gone off my rocker (which I did a long time ago, been a curious ride since), are forgetting Bayeux, that tapestry is one of the most important historical "documents" on the planet.  Without it our knowledge of the period of Hastings, and of the battle itself, would be considerably less.  So, I'm not that far off base, really.   The goal, then, as time permits - very short supply for another month and a few weeks, at least - will be just that; to find a narrative for each and every period and specific characters that will 'survive' through game after game to keep them pulling a thread, or woof.  Now how the heck to I get some figures to push the warp?  Something to ponder.

Mergatroid!  I've forgotten to mention the need for villains.  Every good story needs a nasty, unscrupulous bad guy.  Or, bad girl.  Don't we love our girls to be bad once in a while?

Now, who knows where I can get a Betty-Boop figure in 15 mm?  Someone out there must make one.  Ah, the joys of cantilevered dames.  Well, I do have plenty of dogs to bark; make for some discomforting moments for players trying to sneak up on a homestead or village and such.  Off I go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Anticipation - is keeping me waiting...

Order off to Blue Moon for the figures to create the Musketeer set-up, round off the French and Indian War (figures and a few native buildings and one non-native as a sampler), and a start to something new and long hoped for but sort of abandoned: Mountain Men!  Now, before you run off to check out Blue Moon's new 15/18 mm mountain man range, hold on to your possibles bag, partner.  I spied some items in their newest range, Texas War of Independence range that should work for mountain men - on foot.  Waiting to see if they have some mounted versions and now need to find some Blackfeet indians to suit.  But did order a few bags to see up close and in person.

Also, just finished re-reading The Battle For The Bundu about German East Africa and was struck by the sameness of so many of the battles related and am reconsidering whether to do that period or not.  Haven't abandoned it, still has some interest  But I have decided to add some Prussians in picklehaub for a nice colonial German force for my slightly cracked colonials.  Would really love to get some camel mounted Germans.  Have plenty of French and British to toss into my Scramble mix but being of German heritage, though American through and through, I want to give them some reinforcements so the Hun can have his day.  Why the heck do Germans get called Huns, anyway?  

One of the nice things about being so close to being done adding figures is now I can comfortably contemplate conversions or even the occasional custom sculpted figure.  Not quite there yet, but perhaps soon.

Now back to Blue Moon.  Depending on how I find the sample, and budget as always, I just might order a whole bunch of their French and Indian War buildings.  Also, wondering about the if and when of their 15 mm Gangster range of figures and whether they will include vehicles and buildings.  Hoping.  Oh, and one last pack of native tribes for Africa and a few things, from Old West and ACW ranges, for my old west gargantuaevality (gargantuan eventuality) that draws close to being worked on.

Next month or so I will be busy getting ready for the Pacificon convention in Santa Clara, California where my pirate extravaganza will  make its second appearance.  I really shouldn't claim it as mine since the local club had a lot to do with bringing it into being - but the toys are almost all mine so I do claim it from that perspective.  Maybe after the beginning of September I will finally have time to start putting up some photographs.

And while Blue Moon is great there are other players in the game.  Ordered some of the scenic details from Baueda (trickling in to the local hobby shop) that will be a nice addition.  And planning an order from Musket Miniatures that will be mostly detail bits, including lots of fencing.  But a couple of bags of AWI casualties to finish that off - except for the painting!  Looking at a few items from Stone Mountain and JR Miniatures, again details.  And from across the water, some items for Donnington.

What will I do with my time when I'm no longing shopping for, dreaming up, organizing, buying figures?  Well, um, PAINTING!  A lot, for a long time to come.  Oh, and a game or two here and there.  Had a fun AWI game a week and more ago, not my figures.  My forces, did well, especially one unit.  Moments like that keep up the "gaming juice."

One last note, to self, MODS = maneuverability, offensive power, defensive power, and survivability.  That relates to my rules in development (for self, not for sale).  Go ahead and wonder; it's good for you.

So, it is possible that one tab may go away, GEA, and one new one may arrive - Mountain Men.  Enough for now since I really should be working on something else!

Monday, June 25, 2012

To Pulp, Or Not To Pulp

That is the suggestion - and it's giving me some indigestion.  (Yes, yes, I know, pretty pictures, where are the pictures?  Well, somewhere.  Not here. Yet.  But they will be.  When life and the wife give me a few spare moments.  Waiting is until waiting is fulfilled, young groklings.)

So, do I already have much of what I need to go Pulp?   Well, of course I do.  But do I have enough?  Well, of course I do not.  Need a 15 mm Murch and 15 mm Copplestone to, um, pardon, but mate up (clever use of phrasing there, yeah?) and put forth some darling little ones that will charm our wallets right out of our pockets.  

Where are the femme fatales, where are the jut jawed heroic fools who'll run for cover when the real firing starts? Where are the scatter-brained quasi-geniuses who'll convert the steam traction engines into something fiendish and clanky and grand - and distinctly unreliable?  For that matter, where are the steam traction engines?

Despite the yeoman efforts of Blue Moon and Splintered Light, and the plowman efforts of Rebel Minis and Irregular (Brigade Game's offering in the scale, while pleasant, are pauperish in quantity), there just plain ain't enough yet.  Need nineteen-ought vehicles, like a Stanley Steamer, some wonky flying machines right out of, well, Those Magificent Men and Their Flying Machines (the opening sequence, of course).  And at least the underslingings for a lighter than air ship.

I need, I need, sculptors take heed or, by thundering boilers, I'll break out in poetry!  Now, how about a nice spot of tea?  Oh, don't mind the rusty color of the hot water, I had the flues cleaned out a year or two ago.  Fortitude, chap.

And can Pulp exist pre-1900 or just into the twentieth century and still be Pulp?  I aim to make it so and keep it on earth and more or less to have it "make sense", 'cept when time gets a bit angulated in order to move around a sharp corner or two.

Got a script to go read so you'll have to finish cooking.  Hope it doesn't disturb my stomach to read it.

Narrative, narrative, must come up with a suitable narrative for my iteration of Pulp.  Don't worry, I'll share.  But it's mine, you hear me, all mine, just for me.  By leavens and lean-to's!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flying Around in Ointment

Wondering about the title?  Well, go ahead and wonder for awhile while I wander around with my thoughts in a slightly public environment.

Rules?  Why do we have them and what are they good for?  And are they of paramount importance or do they live in a somewhat less exalted stature?  And is this the right place to start the question?

Actually, no, to that last.  And the simplest answer is no, we don't need rules.  For those of you composing arguments in your head against this, some vociferous and others well beyond, just recall those early childhood endeavors - you didn't need rules to have a good time, you just played and enjoyed.  Right up until you had an opponent with a bruised ego or, if you hung out with a rougher crowd, a bloody nose (or was it your nose?).  Only then, if you were in the right environment to do so, did you seek out rules.  Otherwise, you stumbled back into the hobby many years after "growing up" and found rules to be a hard and fast "requirement" of the hobby.  Thus, no, we don't need rules but we might want them; bloody noses are not beneficial to an enjoyable game.

So, if this isn't the right place to start the question about rules what is this the right place to start?


Yes, the table we play on is the place to start.  And, of course I am right, it's my blog and I always get to be right about everything.  Oh, the arrogance, you say?  Wrong again.  These are opinions and you can't really have a wrong opinion.  Wrong headed, maybe, but not wrong.

So, for me a game begins by having the best possible terrain within the constraints of time and budget and available storage space.  If you are recreating an historical battle of any stripe, the closer you recreate the terrain to the reality the closer you come to making the game work like the battle.  Despite the "flat earth gaming society" (the FEGS), terrain determines how a battle flows.  Now, go sit in a quiet corner and absorb this bit of wisdom before you continue.

Okay, you're back.  You didn't cheat, did you, because if you did a horrible curse just descended upon your miniatures collection, all of it.  Oh, good, you didn't cheat.

Now, back on point (I have a point!?), terrain really does make a game flow better and, perhaps more important, it just makes a game look better.  That is part of the point, having a visually appealing game. No, I didn't say anything about museum quality anywhere.  If you have the resources or the skill to get to that level, great.  I don't and am quite content with my mediocre level of skills, works for me and those I game with.  Sometimes I get better and sometimes I get a little lazy.  But I'm never so lazy as to play on a bare table with masking tape roads and book hills and unpainted miniatures.  Yes, you can play a perfectly good game that way, of course, but it is like eating a flavorless meal - it might be nutritious but not worth a second helping.

Still a ways to go yet.  After the setting, you need the right figures - or at least close figures.  We all know having the right figures is impossible if we want variety in our gaming.  Yes, you can create a perfect match of having the specific figures for a specific engagement (with some compromises on the model figures based on what is and what is not available) but then you need a different set of figures for the next engagement, either additions or subtractions as the case may be.  Won't go over this any more since it is such well trodden ground.

Next comes a well developed scenario.  And those in the know, know that the best scenarios get the action going early, get all players involved from the start and keep them in the action until the game is over whether called early or played through to the end.  One of the major considerations for a scenario to be considered successful is that both sides - or all if more than two  - feel they have a real shot at winning through most of the game.  We best gamers understand we can't always win, though we always want to; if our opponents don't win from time to time they move on, either from the hobby or us.

Now, you might think of buildings as terrain and, certainly, in a way they are.  But.  You can have a game with correct terrain but without any buildings.  So, buildings get relegated further down the scale. Again, however, in a historical scenario, the right buildings help make the game recognizable and just might define the games objectives - the goals for the little metal men (and women?) to fight over or for. This is another place where compromise will often be felt by many a gamer unless said gamer is a skilled scratch builder and prolific if many games are desired over time.

Well, have we got to rules now, then?  Not quite.  Opponents come next.  Shouldn't opponents be first?  Nah.  Sometimes we play solo, at least some of us (and the rest of us just don't admit to it, right?).  For me, an opponent has a few requirements and they are pretty straight forward.  First and foremost, a sense of humor to lighten the mood.  Real war is ugly, the ugliest of ugly.  We want pretty soldiers on pretty terrain with pretty - oh, wait, we don't care what our opponent looks like as long as he takes regular baths.  After a sense of humor the best opponents are easy going.  No, they don't let us win every game, that would get boring, neither do they win every game, that would be disheartening.  They never gloat (long) in victory and are magnanimous in defeat giving us due credit for a brilliant strategy for beating them silly.  Ideally, at least in my case, my opponents don't have or want to own any figures but love painting them and will take considerable delight and feel deeply privileged in being allowed to paint some of my figures to match my standard of quality.  When I find such an opponent, keep your bloody hands off; he's mine, I say, all mine.  And preferably more than one.  It is good to have friends.

Now, to keep those friends, we get to the idea of rules.  I like rules that follow one simple overriding quality.  They are short and simple.  Even for modern, technological war.  I like KISSable rules; Keep It Short and Simple.  Yes, that is the real usage to match the abbreviation.  Since I don't get into the 20th century (well, maybe German East Africa but that hardly counts), I like my rules to start from a simple premise: a man is a man is a man throughout history, a horse is a horse (different saddles and stirrups that make a difference), etc.  Some of the most enjoyable games I've ever played were with rules written on two sides of a 3x5 index card with minimal writing on it.  Kept our focus on the game on the table because there was no rule book to distract us.  That's what I want from my rules, they provide a structure to the game and help to make it flow but don't distract from the "pretty picture" effect.

Well, now, it's late and I think I've waxed my philosophy to a decent shine.  Time to get some of that title ointment to wash the wax from my imagination and go get some rest.

But not before I digress a bit further.  After doodling with some full size boards, I've come to two conclusions:  In 15 mm a 4' wide table is plenty big enough and has two really good advantages; we can see the figures and other detailing bits better and the other is that we can reach most of the table from a sitting position.  The other conclusion is that I need to greatly reduce my massive number of figures to a more manageable size.  That 4' wide table will be limited to 12' in length.  So, that is a new wrinkle in my gaming life, having to "reverse" engineer my hard collected figures from over 32,000 figures to no more than half that number.  I will try to keep all of the periods I'm collecting figures for to no more than 1,200 figures total.  Except for a few exceptions - the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the Wild West.  Sorry, guys and gals, I just might keep the surplus figures for some time before relinquishing them.  The underlying reason for reduction is to have a reasonable chance of playing games in all periods owned and time in life to do it many times per period.  Those 32,000 plus figures are just too intimidating.

Uh oh, the fly just landed in the ointment and now it's stuck.  Good night!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hey, there, thanks for swinging by!

SteepleChasing Zebras?  What, you've never seen a zebra chasing a church steeple that's running down the street?  You should get out more often, really.

Okay, that should set the tone of what you can expect to find here on this blog.  A little bit zany, yes.   But where is the fun in taking seriously gaming with toy soldiers?  Come on, man, we are grown men playing with toys.  Well, mostly, mostly men, I mean - whether we're grown or just in our second - or third? - childhood is open to question.  Having a blast of a good time, however.  (By the way, if that's not what you are doing then you've gotten it all wrong and you need to rewind to the beginning and start over until you get to that point.)

As you can see from the surfeit of tabs above, there are lots of places to explore here.  Too many places, really.  But, hey, I've got the toys already - well, most of them - so I might as well enjoy them.  And along the way, as time permits, I figure it's proper etiquette to share what I and the local lads are doing with the rest of the world, or at least the better portion of it.

So, from time to time there will be reports of games played.  Meanwhile, I hope to get photos posted up under every tab of painted figures.  Some will be sooner rather than later, and others will be later.  And at least one tab awaits someone creating the figures in the proper scale - for me that is 15 mm.  And, of course it is okay if you are misguided enough to use some other scale than that.  It's just a hobby and you can be as misguided as you want to be.  And me, too.

I've decided to call those who choose to come over to the garage to game on my soon to be finished gaming table "The Plague of Locusts" - has to do with a street name, not that the guys are a plague.  Well, not very many of them.

Here on the Home Page things will work backwards - as in the newest posts will be at the top of the page so you'll have to scroll down to find this introduction as more content gets added here.  On the tabbed pages I expect it to work the other way around with the newest posts at the bottom of the page.  Unless Blogger surprises me and does it the other way around.

But seriously, if you take your WarGaming serious, you are very much in the wrong place.  Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the ride through the lands of my imaginings - a kaleidiscopic view of history and not-quite-history, probably a lot more of the latter than the former.

Alrighty, then, I'm off to that too often dismal place called the Real World for a bit - except when I'm out in the garden getting dirt under my fingernails.  Or when I get to spend time with that young lady who lost her wits just long enough to say yes some years ago.  But I'll be back to this entertaining world of fantasy soon enough.  And, sorry, not any fantasy gaming likely to be found here.  I'm into history - well, a highly contorted version of history.

Volley Fire, Present, at One Hundred Yards - Fire!

        --- the Curmudgeon in Chief