Saturday, November 15, 2014

The RANK AND FILE comes out in force!

Had a game at the club today, French and Indian War, using Rank and File Rules.  At a convention last weekend played with line of battle troops facing a large number of skirmish troops, mostly natives.  All did not bode well for the line of battle troops in that game.  Today's event was all line of battle and artillery with strong levels, veterans all.  Much better staying power this time around.  

Buildings are all from Miniature Building Authority this time and the rivers are all from Rick's Scenics.  Everything else is my own terrain.
The beginnings of the British and French contending for the town which got dubbed Pretrenton based on player comments.  The town wasn't actually an objective, just players trying out how a fight worked out in town.
Down the other end of the field where the French found a couple of bits of impenetrable terrain played havoc with their plans.
While battle rages in town some French artillery tries to get a march on some British - or was that the other way around?
 Beyond the town the British and French engage in a long stand off firefight.
 "He wants to move that unit."
 Another angle.
 Two columns charge into each other.  Ended up the French broke and ran.

 Back at the other end and the French just can't get where they want to go.
 A nervous roll of the dice - without a bad result!
Our eight players of the day - Randy slakes his thirst, Alan taunts across the table, Mike W. checks his charts, Jim is unflappable - the near side French players.  And across the table are the British, Brad wondering what's so interesting on that chart, Brian adopts a familiar pose of dread and impending doom, Gary wonders who are these guys I got dragged into play with, and Mike S. is wondering why he arrived so late (but not as late as Brian!).
The battle is over and only the battle battered troops remain upon the table (5' x 12' for our 15 mm figures).
And from the other end.

This was really a chance for players to try the rules more than any sort of carefully thought out scenario.  Had no idea how many players to plan for, really only expected four so had to pinch it.  Honors ended up with the British but a few more turns might have turned things around.  We did have a 12 year old young lady who got a kick out of helping to set up the terrain but decided not to stick around when she was advised she'd had her share of the treats on hand (a bit more, you might guess).

Seems like everyone had a good time and the rules continue to impress with how easy they are and how well they work.  Pretty much all problems stemmed from game master error (yes, that would be me).  But all in all a successful day.

And, again, my thanks to all the guys who turned out for the game.

For the next couple of months, though, gaming goes in hibernation while facing the Big Holidays and cold season for my wife's orchids.  Also need to put more time into my model railroad project for a while.  But stay tuned for more.  Just not soon, maybe.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Adjustment Bureau

So, in response to some recent readability critiques, I've made a few adjustments to the look of this blog.  Not entirely satisfied with it at the moment but hopefully it is an improvement.  Also trying to reopen to add followers but haven't found the right way to do that but I'm guessing that is because of Google +.  Will try more later.  Too late to do more right now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Surpassing!

Finally, this blog that covers so many periods has surpassed my pirate blog.  Over 600 page views since I posted up yesterday's bit.  And a couple of comments about the background of the blog being hard to read but I think most people can read it okay.  Wonder if the comments, especially on how they were phrased might indicate either color blindness (no offense, good friend has the challenge) or monitor adjustment issues.  If it is hard to read, let me know if you can.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Doubled Up Day

Careful observers will have noticed that two of the titles above - or pages - have asterisks next to them because I've updated both pages, including many photographs.  If you please, check out the scenery and French and Indian War tabs above.  Oh, and both of those pages got the reversing treatment so the most recent entry is at the top.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In Camera, In Computer

Which means that I have images taken and loaded from camera to computer but not yet posted here.  Play test tomorrow, maybe get some action photos then - but time will be short for posting after the game because of The Game (NFL).

Robin Hood now reversed in date sequence, most 'recent' post on top of page instead of bottom of page.  Little bit at a time and eventually it will all be that way - less any editorial decisions to delete any posts, especially out of date of duplicative items.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Five-forty Express

No, sorry folks, we're not talking about a train and an Old West game here (well, not yet).  What we're discussing is terrain.  Today I handled 540 pieces of terrain - and finished them!  Okay, technically it was only 150 but 130 were handled four times, once for each of the last four of eight colors getting painted on.  But wait, something is wrong with my math!  Not really.   The 130 were finished and 20 other pieces got some 'blending' so they'd match the rest of the pieces better.  That's how I got to 540 pieces.  And no photos yet.  Too much work, took to long, too tired - and the sun went down.  Hopefully I can get some photos taken and up tomorrow or sometime soon.

This was a good day.


I guess you can call this two posts for the price of one.  Tonight I started the process of reversing the order of the postings on the Pages.  Started with the Viking thread and made it so the most recent post is at the top of the page.  This should make it easier to keep track of what is new.

No decision on this next bit yet but I expect I will do it - the 'it' being making the most recent Page change easier to discern so that generic visits to this blog lead to the newest addition.  The trick, of course, will be how will someone know the 'trick' if they haven't read this?  Maybe make a change to the little blurb at the top.  Yeah, that should do it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Unified Field Theory

Once again the mighty blog viewing masses are asking, "Has the CinC (Curmudgeon-in-chief) slipped a major intellectual disk?"  Or maybe you're just wondering what the heck physics has to do with wargaming?  Well, everything, of course.  But let's not get into that.

What we're talking about here is Unified Field of Battle Terrain - or terrain all designed to work together.  I continue to push forward on my trees, 78 bases and 210 trees - the higher count comes from moving along with the conifers, 90 of those on 30 bases.  As of this evening I have 48 of those bases "sanded" which means I've slopped on the wood glue and poured on the sand which will give the 'teeth' or texture for painting on the eight colors of paint to match the grand scheme I have in mind.  And with a little luck, I hope to get started on the great terrain mat - a 6' by about 24' piece of artist's canvas that will be given the eight color treatment.  Once the trees and mat are done I can put on some pretty nice looking terrain set ups since I already have a supply of hills in the color scheme - though there are more awaiting completion.  Then it is on to the 'mountain ranges' I plan to build to match.  And then all that will be left will be some savannah pieces I have in mind, especially some acacia trees I want to create.  Well, that's all that is currently planned.  Must keep the formulas handy for the grand scheme to be able to add more in the future if the need strikes.

And to help put some incentive behind all this, I've registered a French and Indian War game for a local November convention plus an October play test at the local club.  Nothing like a dead line to motivate progress!

Oh, and I've added a bunch of rivers and streams from Rick's Scenics - and will add some more.  Those also need to have there banks modified to match the terrain scheme.  Roads I'm creating on my own but don't know that I will need any of those for the above game.  And a good thing, too, because time is short and I have other responsibilities outside of gaming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quick In Check

As in letting you all know I've not abandoned this blog - or this hobby.  Just a very busy time especially with a new household member (not a little bundle of joy but she's a fun addition, so far).

Latest project underway is 120 deciduous trees, painted and ready to base and then on to adding the ground foam.  That's all for now.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


And, no, this isn't about my pirates.  Just a quick expression of frustration at life being so danged busy the last few weeks that I haven't had time to take the photos of my rebased French and Indian War figures, ten military units and two 'units' of unarmed civilians.  Yeah, that busy.

My wife and I are soon to have her niece living with us (one week from today, actually) as she finally has gotten everything together to immigrate to America.

And legally, damn it!

I'm sick to my eyeballs of the molly-coddling of the illegal immigrants.  I'm married to an immigrant so I have no problem with people coming to America.  But do it legal.  Took ten years to get my niece here and she will have a job the moment she lands and be a productive participant in society and surely one day a citizen.

If those illegals get any path to legality, then put them all at the far back end of the line.  Behind everyone else who is doing it legally.  If that means they can't be here legal for twenty years, tough bananas, you've already demonstrated disrespect for American law by coming here illegally.  And, yeah, I know all the arguments about economics and politics.  But, really, 75,000 kids seeking political asylum - I actually heard some twit making that argument - all show up in a small time window?  Hardly.  99.99% percent are here for money, plain and simple.

Yeah, this is a hot button issue for me and if you were in a room with me during this topic you'd get an ear full, certain sure.

Oh, and the ironic bit is that as more immigrants come here we are slowly sinking into a less competitive place on the world stage; no way can we stay so high up against the rest of the world in   a globalized economy.  Plain fact.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Progress Report #3 - Trepidation Evaporates

Spent some time last evening working on rebasing my French and Indian War figures.  What was three "battalions" in my mind is now three companies.  Why?  Well, a little organizational redesign has occurred.

Now, instead of a battalion of 42 figures based individually and divided into three "companies" of 12 figures each plus two command groups, higher command and lower command - the latter usually being the standard bearer group, and the four attendant casualty figures, the new structure results in two platoons of seven stands, three figures per stand, with the higher command part of one platoon and the lower command part of the other platoon.  The great intended benefit is 14 stands to move around on the table instead of 42.  While it probably won't change, I'm thinking about having two casualty figures on one larger stand (and with a 'bead post' for a status indicator - which will happen) instead of all casualty figures individually based; originally had four casualties per unit to have one for each company plus one for the command groupings but with only two platoons now I only really need two casualty stands per unit.  So, either 18 or 16 total bases per foot unit once that last is decided versus 46 before.  That ought to make for much faster flowing game play - and that is always a good thing.

(If that doesn't seem a good decision to you then weigh having 28 foot units to put on the table and move around - that is 1288 stands!  Only 448 stands to move instead sure seems better, if still quite high.)

But what about the evaporative effect, you ask?  Well, since the French and Indian War is so often thought of as a small scale skirmish period for wargaming, there was an element of trepidation, significant in proportion, within my psyche about making this change.  However, once I saw that first unit glued to the new basing system, instant poof and little cloud of intellectual moisture floating harmlessly away.  I really like the multi-figure basing system; so much so that I realized the individual basing scheme was one part of what had been slowing down the completion of this period!  (Not that life in general, being married in particular, and the size of the units themselves weren't all factors).

And, why oh why, is it that the French and Indian War got consigned into that skirmish only mindset?  Not entirely, of course, if you look at rules like Habitants and Highlanders or Drums Along The Mohawk but it seems most people in this period gravitate to that situation.  There were plenty of line of battle actions, albeit on smaller scales than the great European battles of the era, besides all the skirmishing.

I suppose you can say my collection travels a middle ground since I think of my figures, now, as representing a one-to-one ratio of one figure equals one man (or woman or child with the civilians and villagers).  On the other hand, my basing allows me to form units quite easily into line of battle formations - for most, not all.  The Native Americans and certain Europeans, Rangers and Coureur du Bois specifically and a few others, are all based in 'skirmish' style on 1" x 1" bases as opposed to most of the figures being based on 1/2" by 1 1/2" bases three abreast.

One more decision to note here.  Like I plan to do with the American Revolution - maybe all periods, really - I am developing a fictional geographic space in which to conduct fictional actions.  The purpose behind doing this is to scatter to the winds the challenge common to historical miniature battles of some or all of the players bringing hindsight to the table top.  Sure, I can still play historical events when desired, but I like the idea of players stumbling blind into an unexpected situation.

Don't know if I will wait until the new bases get textured or not, I'm thinking not, before taking and posting some photographs of these troops.  Such photos will be posted on the French and Indian War page, though.  Probably will wait until several more units get rebased.  I figure it is long past time I provided more visual evidence of the figures I own.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Great Leap Forward

First, head over to the AWI page link above and check out the post at the bottom of the page (May 23, 2014).

Resolve grows stronger still.  It is certain that the AWI, the Old West, and The Steeplechase will stay in my collection.  The French and Indian War isn't leaving and still is priority one for getting painted this year.  The Mountain Men are going to be folded into the Old West and stick around since it is a pretty small group of figures.  After that, everything is on the table.  Most likely I will scavenge through all of the other periods for items I want to keep for one reason or another but primarily because it is useful in the periods I am keeping.  And then, at some point, much of the rest will get sold off.  Still possible some of the other periods will stay.  But going forward the periods listed earlier will get all of my miniature hobby focus.  It feels good to have settled on this decision.  The only thing still swirling around undecided is what period to keep that relates to the Steeplechase to some degree, most likely that will be the Boxers since it is a relatively small collection.

On the still to buy front - a bunch of fences from Musket Miniatures, some roads from the former Scenic Effects (under a new company now), some more rail cars from Peter Pig through the local store to round out my Old West trains.  One more order from Blue Moon to finish off the Mountain Men.  And, maybe - big maybe, an order for some stuff from Donnington for my castle, if it stays.  Robin Hood and the Musketeers are the most likely periods to hang around as "distractions."

So, what is in the good-bye quay: Vikings, Pirates, Indian Mutiny, American Civil War, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and French Foreign Legion.  The ACW and Pirates have lots of painted figures so have higher value than the others.  That big sell off is out there in the future at some unknown point - just in case.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Moving Forward by Stepping Back

So, here is my current thinking on the whole reducing the miniatures collection:

One primary period, two smaller subsidiary periods, and two or three considerably smaller 'disctraction' periods.

Picking the primary period is really easy - American Revolution.  The other periods are a bit harder but if I use something I mentioned many posts ago then Old West certainly is on that short list based on how often I've posted on that page (even more than on the AWI but the revolution wins because it allows line of battle games which I've recently realized is my core interest).  Then comes the Steeplechase under that method of selection.  The big down side here is that none of the figures for those three periods are painted yet.  The upside is that the two subsidiary options provide a wide range of scenario diversity.

Of course, if I start selling stuff off then the painted stuff has the best return value.  Selling the ACW, while a little heart wrenching, is realizable - I love to read about the battles but I got into gaming it based on groupthink rather than real personal choice.  I do have to consider, however, that ACW is the other strong line of battle period I own.  Pirates was a spur of the moment idea that grew to absurd proportions.  However, it is certainly a possible distraction period where I would select a certain portion of the collection to keep and sell off the rest.  The other large group of painted figures is for the French and Indian War and that is a solid interest but too large for a distraction period  - and is supposed to be this years primary miniatures focus that has been seriously interrupted by an AWI redesign that started with the Polly Oliver re-release.  Maybe, just maybe, this can be considered a sub-set of the AWI since it is so closely allied in time and many of the figures are interchangeable to one degree or another.

Continuing with the number of posts per period's page, there are four contenders for distractionary periods - Robin Hood, Musketeers, Indian Mutiny, and Boxer Rebellion.  If I hold hard to the number of figures in the collection then that leaves the first two but, naturally, I can keep just part of a collection rather than the whole.

Other considerations are period and geographic diversity.  As in, to select for other periods of history and other geographic regions?  Or, do I plumb for as much homogeneous time and geography as possible to allow easy exchange of figures from one period to another?

For certain sure, decision time draws closer and closer.  If I make it to the one major, two subsidiary, and three minor periods that means I cut the number of periods I have in half.  And that, over time, means more use of what I choose to keep.

Monday, April 14, 2014

One not missing anymore!

I have been following closely the re-emergence of a range of figures that disappeared for a time.  It is the 15 mm American War of Independence range from Polly Oliver.  The figures are now back in production and an ordering page is up on the internet.  The link to the left goes directly to that page.  I, for one, will be ordering from them - and I've invited another local gamer with a similar interest to join in to create a slightly larger order.  Now, I'm off to sort out exactly what I want to order.

Oh, before I go, it is worth noting that you can learn more about my purchase choices in general for this period by visiting the appropriate page link above.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Who is missing?

As in for the links to the left of here, what key manufacturers of 15 mm historical miniatures does not have a link listed?  USA links get pride of place and the rest of the world gets listed further down.  I'm sure I'm missing some, Essex and MY Miniatures immediately come to mind (I think).  Will have to attend to this sometime soon.  For now I'm off to visit a couple of links - which is what caused this little post, reviewing the links prior to going for a visit.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Progress Report #2 + ConQuest Sacramento

Why "two posts for the cost of one"?  Well, there will be photos from the convention that relate to the progress report.

So, some work on the layout in the last month - and good work it was, too.  But most of you don't care about that.  I do!

On the French and Indian War front no real progress to report because I had extra work to do on the animals for the convention game.  After delivering the animals and seeing where progress was on the figures - worrisome - I volunteered to base and texture same for all the animals as well as paint up ten more beasts, a bull, cow, and calf, four more pigs, one attack dog, a pack horse, and a little burro.  In addition, I painted up some of my own figures in the large scale I'd bought for what was mooted as a club imagination game that fizzled.  It was eight figures and two chickens being fed by one of those figures - all civilians.  In total I painted 92 figures for the game plus I created the wee bit of sea where the sea wolves landed.

And, bye the bye, one of those longships was captured by the Saxon side (my side) and the other came very close to being set on fire.  As it were, a number of Viking contingents got left behind.  And my group, led by Osgard, got wiped out except for the hero himself who had a nice little mantra: "My father was a wood cutter, his father was a wood cutter, and his father before him back to the sixth generation were wood cutters.  Today, I cut down Vikings."  And he did, too.  He managed to take out a number of Vikings and then engaged in single combat with a Viking hero and managed to 'chop him down' with not so much as a scratch on him.  Of course, he hasn't any followers left - but he is now a legend in his little village, a legend that will live on through time.

This shot is from the pre-convention set up but is a nice shot of the flock of sheep I painted - before basing.
And here are the chickens.  Most of the livestock came from Mega Minis, a company that is no longer. Hopefully someone bought the molds and masters and will keep these available.
 And a herd of goats.  The herdsmen were painted by Mike. O.
Aaron saying something along the lines of, "What was I thinking to volunteer to run a game like this - and it is only a week away!  Somebody shoot me, please."  Okay, not really, but those puckered lips required a caption.
And, "Mike, what do you mean you're not done with everything yet?  Didn't I tell you about my heart condition?"  With a distraught Gary looking on.  Again the dress rehearsal.  And again, the quote is...?
Compare what you see here to later photos from the convention.
 A nice shot of the long ship landing I created for the game.  Hope Aaron repaints the edge to have a closer match to the grass mat (a 6' x 22' canvass used in the local club's Dust game last year.
And now we've arrived at the convention and here is Gary's Boxer Rebellion "55 Minutes at Peking" game based on the old Wargames Illustrated article by the same name.  And in 6 mm!
Left of center are the Japanese and French legations which I controlled during the game.  The other players had two legations a piece and the civilians rotated based on card activation.  All of the Boxers were under game umpire control.

 That is the Foo in the foreground where the civilians, or most of them, began the game.
 Just above the British flag you can see the well that was a critical point for all of the legations.  Seems the Hanlan library hasn't been burned yet.

An overall shot that also shows the areas used for holding figures.  Legations could have figures in hospital, in a food holding area, or in fire holding area.  Fun game.  And not just because those of us running the legations won the game.
 A few shots of a game using teddy bear fur that was air brushed and then dry brushed.  Very nice looking game.  I'm told it was based on the Band of Brothers cable show.
 A German gun, I believe.
 An overall shot.
This is the title card for the game - and I think this is the only game I took photos of that I didn't play in.  I brought along a very relaxed attitude to this convention.  Just playing in a few games.

I will break here to say how nice it was to see virtually every game have a sufficient number of players to be run.  Most I observed looked like they were full.  I know the coordinators for the event tried to balance out number of games to achieve this and it seemed to work.  Though I know at least one person got turned away from a game for lack of space in the game.  So, maybe one or two (or three) extra games might have been an improvement.  Hard balance to get right, I guess.
And, now we get to the local club's game with the items I painted for it.  Nothing to win contests but yeoman work that was ready in time for the game, even if some of it wasn't finished until the morning before the game, the day the convention actually started.   Above is the flock of sheep and the pigs, two varieties, in the fields further back.
 This is the village the Vikings were about to raid.  Those light blue 'chiclets' are loot tokens representing the contents of the buildings.
 Here are the goats in the foreground and the cattle to the rear.  I didn't do the carts or their draft animals, I believe Mike did all of those.  More chiclets in the cart.
The sea wolves howling there arrival!  And take a careful look at the longship in comparison to the photos above - Gary took these under his wing and did a very nice job with the interior detailing of the ships.  Trying to identify who made them - several have asked or been asked and no one knows as yet.
 And just beyond the field are the chickens I painted plus the civilian woman with her baby feeding chickens.  Nice watch tower with some archers stationed in it.  Archers were astonishingly strong.
 A general overview, but note the closest field and the roads.  Just plain felt that Mike modified with some aerosol paint cans with spray control tips.
 The game about to begin.
 The man on the right is Mr. Google Glass - and, yes, he was courteous about asking before hand about using the device to take images.  Of course, if he took any of me he owes me $500.00 US each image!
And back to back game masters.  Aaron is in the green and that is Dave sitting down.  He will be running the Napoleonic game shown below.
Another shot of the cattle.  Note those trees and their bases.  The green cutout is my own design but painted up by Mike.  The brown based trees on top are magnetic based and sabot style.  I'm trying to talk Mike into giving the base a good dry brushing of greens to make them blend in better.  They look okay in person but I think they really stand out in photographs.
 My hero advances forward with his unarmored retainers - and first blood to me, those are two of my men rendered hors'de'combat!  Bloody archers.
 An engagement between Saxons and Vikings.  The Vikings had the sandy colored bases, the Saxons the grass tufts.  Closest on the road is an 'overladen henchman' and to his right is a pack horse; I painted both of those.
 Here the group nearest the church was an attempt by a local priest to convert the Vikings from their pagan ways.  Seems Odin was in the ascendant on this day.
 Another battle.
 Many of the civilians can be seen here.  And at the top of the field on the right is one of the two stands of ravens.  It was pretty funny when one of the players tried to take them as loot and they did what birds do.  They flew away!  Again, my painting on the birds.
 Cattle in the midst of melee.
 Some action at the far end of the table.
 Very early in the game the Vikings captured a cart and managed to load it on their ship!
 Vikings with loot.
 More Vikings seeking loot.
And here is my command, armored shield wall protecting the sheep, my hero, the remnants of his unarmored command after coming under the devastating attention of the unit of Viking archers, and my mounted contingent before receiving similar treatment.
 Looks like Vikings with captives heading for the ship - or is that a retreat I see?
Down the far end and the Saxons are under the command of a tacticition - a real major in the army, or at least the reserves.  Looking to wear a bird of his own one day, or at least a different colored cluster.
 Oh, sure, you are just taking loot back to ship.  No, no - you are running away in fear from my mighty ax!
Dave about to attempt to burn the other Viking ship.  Seems Vikings drop a lot of litter, just look at all the white stuff on the ocean's inlet.
 Far end of the table from my command so I'm not sure what was happening here.
 Here is the last of my command taking on the the last of a Viking unit.
 And then it is down to hero against hero.  That is me on the left, or Osgard my hero anyway.  I've bloodied a Viking hero.
TIMBER!  He's dead.  That'll teach Vikings to mess with wood cutters, no doubt.
And here are a couple shots of Dave's Napoleonic game,  I had the Italian portion of the French army on the left, closest corner of the table.
And that is our Massena with the folded arms who rode off the table and abandoned his forces (actually, he'd taken so many losses he just didn't want to play any more - or maybe had to leave, not sure).  Maybe he didn't like the system.  We used Rank and File from Crusader Publishing, which you can see on the table.  Very fast playing rules.  We had eight players, none of who had played the rules before (well, I did for only two turns - and I had read them, own them) and we managed to complete 12 full turns in five hours of play time with 68 units on the table.  Sure, there are a few quibbles that can be addressed with a tinker or two.  But the rules were so easy to use that with just the quick reference charts all of the players were able to handle just about everything on their own with only minimal guidance needed from the game master - Dave center rear.  Great fun Dave, even if my side got thoroughly walloped in the end.
Made it in the game but I guess I didn't get a shot - love that little dog's pose, top left of the picture.
And top right here is the cat which I tried to paint up to look like a bobcat so it can be a house cat that has the coloring or a wild cat for some future event.

Now I can get back to work on my French and Indian War collection.  And the honey dew list.  That is a long list!

And a minor correction, I did make a tiny bit of progress on the French and Indian War.  I've acquired two bags of Woodland Scenics' deciduous trees, 3" to 5" size, to help expand my forest.  I plan to use the lighter colored foam for 'light' woods and the darker colored foam for - wait for it - 'heavy' woods.  And the medium colored foam foliage?  Maybe 'medium' woods?  However, since the medium color can seem to be lighter or darker according to which of the other two it's near, I think I will also do something a bit different in how I texture the tree bases (3 trees to a base is my plan).  I'll use a lighter colored texturing under the lighter trees and darker under the darker trees but try for a distinctly noticeable 'blotch' mix under the medium colored trees to make them more readily recognizable.  My goal is 36 bases of 3 trees each, 12 bases in each color scheme.  That should be enough to give a good size table good coverage.  Especially since I also plan to add treeless bases of brush and taller grasses and other obstructions - like rock piles.  In general, I like a crowded terrain on the table for most games but it is a requirement in my mind to do a proper French and Indian War game.