Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter and all that!

The last two weeks were busy with fire and with home stuff. Gaming was a little off. Painting was a much better leading to the actual completion of some units and skirmish figures.

Fire: five units burned (in WLF speak) or for saner folks, that's five tracts of land of varying complexity and size. Some of the burns were for the tourists to experience a battlefield as it was; some were for fuels reduction in the event of a bad fire season; and, some were to beat the fire bugs at their game as Earth Day approaches--last year five fires were set. This year, we ruined someone's Earth Day by beating them to the fire setting. The burns varied from grasslands on Long Island to the Saratoga National Historical Park. I worked on a NPS crew and on a NY DEC crew...all good days of work. On the first, we completed some big units of burning in one day so I was spent...more tired than I have been at some of the major fires. The day was interesting, starting with a crazy burn involving extreme fire behavior culminating in two well run burns. My new Crew Boss is top notch. It was a pleasure to work for him. Check out the photos and take special note of the Fire Whorl, essentially a small fire tornado we had in the first instance. All in all, it was a good day. I am a little short in pictures as I was handling ignitions for much of the day. Ignitions is hard post in which to take pictures...too busy running up and down setting fires. The DEC burn was a small crew but all familiar so we burned it down in very good time and completed two units without a hitch. Enjoy the photos:
Widening the line:
Converging fingers:

Extreme fire behavior as the winds start to swirl and shift rapidly:
Extreme Fire Behavior (Fire Whorl):
Saratoga after the fire:
End of the Day at Saratoga:

Where's the fire?
Flare Up:
Fire making a run at the truck:
Holding a line:

Over the Easter break, my son found Survive, Escape from Atlantis which is a recent republication of the 1982 Survive game. This is a fun, four player family-type game. Each player takes the part of a tribe on Atlantis. You must get your people off Atlantis and to the nearby safe islands by boat (best way) or swimming. All the while, whirl polls, sharks, whales and sea serpents destroy boats and eat people. Favorable winds and dolphins can help. Essentially is is an oppositional race game where you race to get your people to safety while stopping the "other guy." I did not want to by another game, even though I remembered it fondly; but my son promised to play it. And play it they did. I think the kids played it twice a day every day. I managed to get in two games of it. In the past, I had played it many times but never won. I finally one one of them. Lest you think it was an adult smacking down the kids, it wasn't. I won with the lucky intervention of some winds and dolphins and by not engaging in the revenge fest that got going. If the other players had played like they played in the earlier games, I doubt it would have been a victory. The second game ended in a total thrashing for me. This is a fun game.
House-wise it's been busy. Warmer weather coming faster than planned has moved up various projects. Lots of visitors for Easter week. Vehicular issues cropped up. Then a freaky set of wind storms caused some wind damage to the roof. Good thing my homeowners is USAA. They are the best and responded quickly with a fast contractor response. Early blooms and lots of winter kill. Busy, here.
I stumbled across a good Rogue Trader AAR on Boardgame Geek ( Reading it reminded how much fun the system was. Too bad it died the death of competition gaming. Points won out over flavor and story.
Board-, Card and Role Playing Games Played:
I played three games of the Star Wars Electronic Battleship. Amazingly, I won once on the hardest setting with the advanced weaponry (Game four level three if you are wondering). The game requires some skillful use of the advanced weaponry to have a chance at winning. In six plays at that setting, I have only won once. The scanners are good but not idiot proof so they must be used carefully. If you count one of my kids playing makes it paid for in my book with a total of seven plays of four hours total or valuation of playtime was almost five dollars per hour. If we never play this one again, it is good value...and it will get played again as I found it hard to walk away from after the win. I played one more time to see if I had the game figured out...I did not. Good game.
John Henry and I played a game of Magnifico. It is a three plus player game; but , he wanted to play. We whipped through to the Victory point end game in about an hour. John Henry asked to keep playing and fight it to conclusion...I'll keep you for the mechanics, imagine Risk set in the 16th with bidding on Leonardo da Vinci's war machines. We enjoyed it. Someday it would be fun to try with the full complement of five players.
I snuck in an eighteen minute game of Memoir '44 in the Pacific. My defense of Wake Island was not inspired.
Two games of Survive, Escape from Atlantis were played. This is a great game. How can one resist a game with whirlpools, volcanoes, Jaws, Nessie and Moby Dick, not to mention Flipper?

Miniature Games:
Sadly, I missed out on this front. My Saratoga burns kept me working too late to make Mike's weekly game. My hopes for an Easter game also failed to materialize.
I managed to get a bunch of my resin SciFi terrain pieces back from a terrain maker who never finds the time to get them done. I finished one containment tube and find the pieces nice. Definitely not as fancy as or durable as the Antenociti Workshop pieces (HIGHLY recommended) but I remember they were about half the price...too bad I can't remember who I bought them from...

Fantasy/Dungeon Crawls: I started unpacking my Dwarven Forge pieces from their moving boxes into some Really Useful Boxes.
French & Indian War: I unpacked an Iroquios fort from a moving box. This piece was made by Jim Dirmaier. It's fantastic and has saw many battles.
French Revolution: Basing galore of the French infantry is underway. I have been corresponding with Magister Militum to find out when the caissons and limbers are actually going to be sent...might be time to source proxies.
Modern: The Sweeney vehicles arrived! As did the new 7TV rules for wargaming in the world of Cult TV. Time for a Geezers game...I probably should play the Geezers Rules and then the new 7TV to see which I prefer.
World War Two: I was looking over my son's copy of Tide of Iron trying to figure if it was worth trying on the table top.

Painting and Painters:
Matt Slade, a painter in the UK sourced a number of vehicles for me. Essentially, he has been picking up various 1960's and 1970's vehicles. The boxes arrived and I can see some The Sweeney games in the future.
The Bleus are finished and based for my French Revolutionary army: Eight Battlaions at 48 figures per battalion. Four battalions of Blancs are in progress. Artillery and Cavalry are in varying stages of I just need Magister Militum to get the lead out and send me the limbers...they say they are ready to go.
I also managed to finish a few of the 28mm figures clogging up my painting bench: Thrudd, Three plant men with ray guns, a cherubim with a blotter and an Ork Kommando modified to have a stick of dynamite. The remainder of the 80- or so on the bench received varying degrees of work running the gamut from priming to basing. And, being the glutton for punishment I am, I could not resist adding to the pile on the desk: two Nort MG teams, two Nort snipers, four Scarecrow-men and four Fembots.

Even though I have some Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated waiting to be read, I was too tired. Several attempts at a late night read ended with me asleep on the couch in the library. One time I even woke up when I poured the now cold tea in my lap...I did succeed in finishing Wargames Recon, Issue Five had the usual host of reviews of books, miniatures and rules. There was an interesting article about a club's Victorian Sewer project and game. The pictures were great! It would be nice to build a sewer and add that extra dimension to my urban skirmishes...someday maybe I find the time.
Tarleton's Quarter ( has some nice pictures from Salute 2011. That is a convention I would like to see some day.

Meeples and Minaitures View from the Veranda had an excellent discussion or gaming, clubs, games and the like. ( I enjoyed listening in the truck on the way back from Saratoga.
The D6 Generation did a good review of the boardgame Mansions of Madness if you have any questions about that game.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saratoga National Historical Park

Off to Saratoga National Historical Park. My crew is scheduled to burn a section of the battlefield tomorrow...I'll post pictures on my return...

View from the Veranda, Episode Three

Finally came out. It is a good listen to hear Neil Shuck and Henry Hyde of Battlegames discuss recent developments in the industry. (

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming Attractions from Two Hour Wargames

I just got these coming attractions from the Two Hour Wargames site:

Korea is due out later this month.

As well as Charioteer, the companion to Red Sand Blue Sky.

And in cooperation with Rod at Highlander Studios Qwik - Game of the Wasteland will be released early in May.

In addition there is a promised surprise release due out in the next month...looks like I need to start basing the Korean War figures I finished, dust off the chariots and pull out my Dark Future collection...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wargaming the past two weeks...

Board-, Card and Role Playing Games Played:
I got in five games of Memoir '44 bringing my yearly count up to thirteen. If you play with a person not accustomed to analysis paraysis, we can finish a game in less than thirty minutes. I really enjoy this game. The first game I was the Germans attacking outside of Moscow in the Winter of 1941. Good game. The second was from the Russo-Finnish War which was far more challenging in it's careful and bold use of ski troops. It took me three tries to win as the Finns. The first gane was a wash as the cards fell totally in the Russian favor. Game two was much closers I mastered the movement of the ski troops. Game three was also very close but was a win.
Three games of Battleship StarWars the electronic version. My son pulled this out of his game cabinet. I was skeptical but found myself hooked. IT has an advanced game that uses torpedoes, sensor, strafing and bombs. And the AI is challenging. I got one game in against my son and two against the computer...not a single victory. This is worth picking up.
My buddy Joe, not a warmer came over for pizza at the tale end of a gaming session. We lured him into a game of Formula D--Monaco as he enjoys Formula One racing. The game was a success with all parties having a good time. After the game, Joe was looking over the more complicated version. In addition, his son expressed interest in playing. It was the first time I played this game with more than four players and found it gets better exponentially. I look forward to a game of this with the full eight parties.

Miniature Games:
My miniature gaming looked to be down in this period as I missed both Friday Games at Mike's. One died the death of the sweet sixteen season as all of out sitters are going to the gala parties. The other died the death of a need to volunteer at my children's school functions. Last minute, though, Igor and Tim came over for two quick games of Ganesha's Flying Lead and Fear and Faith. Igor is a fan of Songs of Drums and Shakoes as we have played three games of this one so we decided to try these other rules using some recently painted science fiction figures. On the yahoo group I had read that FL is good for hard SciFi and cinematic SciFi while F&F is recommended for Gothic SciFi; thus, we played two SciFi games.
The first used FL. It involved a faction of Tritonians defending a gate (Star?) from an incursion of Mercurians. Here you see the Mercurian force guarding the old temple gate:
Meanwhile the Mercurian scout was sneaking up.
As the Mercurians gathered behind the bush, the Tritonians flung a grenade. Unfortunately, a fumbled throw caused the Tritonain force to suffer the concussive effects for awhile. The Mercurians seemed unable to get motivated enough to advance giving the Mercurians time to recover, rally and gun them down. A lone survivor escaped while the remainder of the squad was captured.

Game two saw the Earth Force UN Rocketeers steadily push the Venusians back.
Some would say that the Venusian lack of stereoscopic vision had an effect. Others would say the steady advance of the UN Force under a hail of lead was the decide.

Venusians out-manuvering the Rocketeers. Position failed against armor and firepower. Venusian Forces lacked the staying power to hold the Temple Gate.

Projects Worked On:
Colonialism/VSF: I got to read various DRAFTs of the new GASLIGHT compendium. It looks fantastic!
Doctor Who: Vehicles were sourced by a contact in the UK.
French & Indian War: I read a great article in an old Military History magazine about Ticonderoga that has me fired up to dig out mycollection of F&I troops and terrain.
French Revolution: Basing continues on the Bleus and the mob. Now I just need Magister Militum to ship off the artillery and cavalry. I started to plan the me crazy.
Modern: Vehicles were sourced by a contact in the UK.
South American Wars of Liberation: Planning continues here as I get ready to start my Horse & Musket painting again. I have been cataloging my various units that can do duty in South America (and North America) with a simple Standard bearer change. Steel 1 cm squares is the key--with a small slice of magnetic tape, I can change a unit to another side. So far I have identified various units that resemble other in other wars (War of 1812, Texas War of Independence and the Carlist War, not to mention other theaters of operation in the SA Wars.
War of 1812: See SA Wars above.

Painting and Painters:
Matt Slade was able to help me solve the 1960-1970-era British vehicle problem I was having. He managed to gather quite a nice collection and ship it to me...I'll let you know how they are. I definitely see some Geezers games in the future, not to mention Dr. Who, UFO, James Bond, etc.

Check out this link for some post-apocalpytic goodness (!?!) in 15mm:
Two Hour Wargames has come up with Zombie Golf. The AOR is a good read:
If Cthulu is your thing, then the new Mansions of Madness boardgame is reviewed here:

Meeples and Miniatures had a good review and two interviews concerning the upcoming release of Ambush Alley's Force on Force...if this is interesting to you, the authors suggest pre-ordering through for significant discounts on the core rule book and the various theater rules. I did learn that they have cut World War Two out of Force on Force. The Theater books in the pipe are Road to Baghdad (Iraq 2003), Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Ambush Valley (Vietnam) and Cold War Gone Hot. They also have Tomorrow's War coming out this summer for the SciFi folks.
The old standby of D6 Generation was focused on a superhero roleplaying game...not my speed.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More GASLIGHT information!

This is worth a look if you are into GASLIGHT:

New GASLIGHT Compendium!

Here's a quick commercial that says it all...

I have gotten a few sneak peeks at this one and it is a must-have if you have ANY interest in Pulp gaming. I plan to buy two copies; one for use and one for the bookshelf as the contents and artwork is top notch.

My first GASLIGHT game planned? Probably Leonardo DaVinci meets GASLIGHT or perhaps Deadlands. Or...or...or...whatever the case, I am looking forward to the Compendium.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Igor completed a bunch more of the Blue Moon 28mm Spacemen figures. First up are the Rocketmen. Mercurian Squad and a heavy weapon:
Earth Force spacemen and women:
Tritonian Squad and Heavy Weapon:
Venusian Squad and Heavy Weapon:
Now I just need to figure out what each squad and heavy weapon is like to try and differentiate them from the others. The Mercurian weapon looks like it shoots out those circular "smoke-ring" -like waves of energy. Triton definitely uses some sort of beam technology. Venus is probably a mass driver cannon or some sort of projectile. If you have any ideas or thoughts, please let me know...

Mashomack Split Rock Prescribed Fire

Boots on the ground...finally. My NYS crew headed out to Shelter Island this week. We were on the hook for a test prescribed fire involving a study using fire to manage Green Briar in forests. Green Briar, native to the area is aggressive and tends to take over oak and hickory forests. Additionally it creates ladders into the upper level of the tree pretty much guaranteeing the spread of a fire to the upper levels of the tree canopy. Mashomack Nature Conservancy has set the stage for a prescribed fire to take the research to the final stages. Well, it did not happen that way as the winds got weird and Green Briar burns fast and hot. We spent the first part of the day checking lines and planning only to have the burn cancelled when gusts added with weird winds made it too the eyes of the scientist and the Burn boss...
At that point, the mission was scrubbed.
We mounted up drove down the road and burned off a grassland that needed some fuel reduction. Here are some photos:
Establishing our test fire and fire lines.Flare up around a tree we wanted to save...successfully defended.
Took this one in the middle of the fire on my way back from the tree...notice, I am in the black.

A patch of green briar flares up.
Sudden unexpected gusts in a swirl almost caused a mini fire whorl...too bad I was too slow to snap, but you get the idea. The tall finger is about seven to fifteen feet high.
One of the TNC guys handling the ignitions of the control line.My boss walking the line...check out my of the reasons I hate my iPhone for fire, I have to take off my gloves to snap.
Green briar flashing up. It goes faster and hotter that grasslands.
Backing fire trying to break the lines.
Mission Accomplished. Fire's out, invasive species dead, green briar test burn accomplished...