A Thrusting we will go!

Bengal club members Bill and Doug convincing themselves that all this work will be worth it.....

Bengal club members Bill and Doug convincing themselves that all this work will be worth it…..

Space the Final Frontier, well maybe not the final frontier for The Bengal Club but the one some of us are going to be exploring for the next year. A few of us have gotten up the courage to do a Campaign using a combination of the tactical “Full Thrust Continuum” (FT) rules and the old Avalon Hill “Stellar Conquest” (SC) board game for the strategic portion of the campaign. I have been loosely thinking about this for over a year and with the help of fellow gamer Doug Kendrick and other Bengal Club members will now attempt to put this idea into play.

Full Thrust Continuum the latest and I feel the most complete and well structured version of the Full Thrust system. Follow this link to Down Load them!

Full Thrust Continuum the latest and I feel the most complete and well structured version of the Full Thrust system. Follow this link to Down Load them!

Using FT and SC is not new several others have done it and the results can be found spread out across the internet, I’ll give it my “touch” and will see what happens. The idea, for me stems from the problem of generating battles that have a real goal, purpose, or result because of them than the usual “we all get a 1,000 points and meet in the middle battle”. Now don’t get me wrong we do fight scenario type battles, many of them great fun, well done, but still there is no over all purpose beyond that evenings entertainment. Players will make decisions in those types of games that they would never make in a battle were the results had consequences on future games they would have to fight like in a campaign situation. In other words “will winning this battle lose me the next battle or even the war?” Those kinds of decisons make the battles a lot more interesting, and I think result in a much more “honest” and realistic game play on the table top!

stellar-conquest-box-sml

You can find this great “out of production” game on the web for around $30.

There is also the great unknown factor in battles fought where players do not know exactly what they might be facing until the ships hit the table (sensor range). Play balance is never assured, options like, flee, fighting withdrawal, hold to the last man, start to mean something! Victories also become more sweet, obtaining objectives have purpose, and on and on. Campaigns also open a huge part of the gaming hobby that some of us find both interesting, rewarding, and just fun. The campaign mode will also give us a lot more opportunities to buy, paint, and use some of those great space stations, repair docks, and other space installations besides just ships. Planets, asteroid belts, and mine fields become much more integral parts of the gaming experience.

 

Explore new worlds! Conquer and exploit their populations, heck maybe just vaporize them!

Explore new worlds! Conquer and exploit their populations, heck maybe just vaporize them!

So over the next year watch the Stars (well this site) and follow along with us as we battle for the control of area RX7 or the “System of Seven Veils”

Bill W

This Campaign is being played out in the Greater Los Angeles California area (Valencia to be exact) and we would love to have any other local gamers interested in participating come join us! No requirements, one battle or all of them! No ships needed to just come and play. Give me a shout through the contact info or leave comment with your info. Check the Calendar section of my site to see what our schedule will be and get on our email list for timely updates.

If you want to follow this campaign or are involved in it please become a site subscriber or member. You will then be able to post, get into member only areas, and automatically receive notification when new material appears here. PLEASE if you become a subscriber or member, DO SO UNDER a name and email I will recognize or you may be deleted as a “spammer / scammer”

ft-old-school

Another “Dog Day Afternoon” in So Cal “Mansurah” 1250ad

Well its been awhile since I’ve posted up anything, not that there wasn’t anything going on its just that some times there is so much going on that time for posting it up is in short supply!

I did make some time to get down to the “Dog of War” club house for some gaming over the last month and that included a great gaming session based on the Crusader era “Crescent and Cross” SAGA rules. Tim Daun has been working on a multi player scenario featuring the 7th Crusades battle in Egypt circa 1250 for the control of the city of “MANSURAH”

The pictures are can be opened (by right clicking and selecting open) for a much higher res picture! It may take awhile if your internet speed is slow or you are using a mobile device! Use your browser’s back button to return to the article. Please be sure to check out the high speed time lapse of the game linked at the end, a 4 hour game in about 2 minutes! There are also quite a few more pictures on the official “Dogs of War” site maintained by Tim D at Dogs of War

The French, English, and Milites (Military Orders) land and deploy from their camp

The French, English, and Milites (Military Orders) land and deploy from their camp

These beautiful SAGA warbands are from the collections of Tim Daun and Chris Snell, dam nice looking on the field!

These beautiful French and English SAGA warbands are from the collections of Tim Daun and Chris Snell, dam nice looking on the field!

This SAGA recreation was the second “play test” of the possible game to be put on at a convention in the future. Tim D, Chris S, and Rick A would command the Muslim forces and Dave D, Chris V. and Bill W (me) commanding the assaulting Crusaders. The main task of the Crusaders is to secure the City as a base of operations for continuation of the crusade. Failing to do this leaves them stranded and open to attack, so they must clear the city completely. I wont go into the game much as it is still having play balance adjusted and needs to be played quite a few times for players to get the “feel” for it, work out strategy, and of course adjustments to be made. I will say I think it already plays well and is a lot of fun. With a few more tweaks it will be another classic “Dog’s of War” production!

Rick not only looks quite confident as the cities Muslim commander he looks the part!

Rick “Abbu Bey” not only looks quite confident as the cities Muslim commander he looks the part! Buildings by Crescent Root Studios

We are ready to soak our sand with the infidels blood!

We are ready to soak our sand with the infidels blood!

This battle (the 2nd) was I’m told a much better showing by crusader forces with them making it into town, clearing several buildings, while taking few losses. Other battles raged on the outskirts of the city where again the crusaders fought well and kept most of the Muslim relief forces from any hope of helping the cities defenders. The game however ended with Muslim forces still in control of half of the city so was technically a victory for the forces under the Crescent Banner!

Ricks Muslim Hearth Guard was held fast against the tide of Crusaders taking but a few losses!

Ricks Muslim Hearth Guard was held fast against the tide of Crusaders taking but a few losses!

My "Teutonic Knights" are raring to go!

My “Teutonic Knights” are raring to go!

I played my Teutonic Knights and did well mostly by raising my “piety” level up to a “4” and at this level the bonuses become very powerful! My Crossbowmen move forward mowing down Muslim defenders as if they were all armed with 50 caliber machine guns! In hindsight I made a few mistakes being new to my Teutonic’s and the scenario. I should have moved faster and more aggressively in clearing the town (this was true across the crusade army) and my last heroic charges by the Teutonic Knight Hearth guard while glorious at first were too late and ultimately directed at the wrong target.

Joe Nacchio as always provided some great accent terrain pieces to the setup. Joe is a real team player and many wargamers do not real think about how important these little extra touches are to any game!

Joe Nacchio as always provided some great accent terrain pieces to the setup. Joe is a real team player and many wargamers do not real think about how important these little extra touches are to any game!

The terrain was top notch and sure to be much more spectacular should this game ever make it to a convention. Thanks to all the “Dogs” for a great Saturday of Gaming!

Bill W

Check the entire 4 hour battle in 2 minutes! Go full screen and have your sound on! and remember you can select higher video quality if your system supports it. (up to 4k for this video!

Below a brief synopsis of the conflict taken from Wikipedia

By the mid-13th century, the Crusaders became convinced that Egypt, the heart of Islam’s forces and arsenal, was an obstacle to their ambition to capture Jerusalem, which they had lost for the second time in 1244. In 1245, during the First Council of Lyon, Pope Innocent IV gave his full support to the Seventh Crusade being prepared by Louis IX, King of France.

The goals of the Seventh Crusade were to destroy the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria, and to recapture Jerusalem. The Crusaders asked the Mongols to become their allies against the Muslims, the Crusaders attacking the Islamic world from west, and the Mongols attacking from the east. Güyük, the Great Khan of the Mongols, told the Pope’s envoy that the Pope and the kings of Europe should submit to the Mongols.

Louis the IX

Louis the IX

The ships of the Seventh Crusade, led by KingLouis’s brothers, Charles d’Anjou and Robert d’Artois, sailed from Aigues-Mortes and Marseille to Cyprus during the autumn of 1248, and then on to Egypt. The ships entered Egyptian waters and the troops of the Seventh Crusade disembarked at Damietta in June 1249. Louis IX sent a letter to as-Salih Ayyub. Emir Fakhr ad-Din Yusuf, the commander of the Ayyubid garrison in Damietta, retreated to the camp of the Sultan in Ashmum-Tanah, causing a great panic among the inhabitants of Damietta, who fled the town, leaving the bridge that connected the west bank of the Nile with Damietta intact. The Crusaders crossed over the bridge and occupied Damietta, which was deserted. The fall of Damietta caused a general emergency (called al-Nafir al-Am النفير العام) to be declared, and

One of French King Louis's brothers Charles d’Anjou

One of French King Louis’s brothers Charles d’Anjou

locals from Cairo and from all over Egypt moved to the battle zone. For many weeks, the Muslims used guerrilla tactics against the Crusader camps; many of the Crusaders were captured and sent to Cairo. As the Crusader army was strengthened by the arrival of

Alphonse de Poitiers, the third brother of King Louis IX, at Damietta, the Crusaders were encouraged by the news of the death of the Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih Ayyub. The Crusaders began their march towards Cairo. Shajar al-Durr, the widow of the dead Sultan, concealed the news for some time and sent Faris ad-Din Aktai to Hasankeyf to recall Turanshah, the son and heir, to ascend the throne and lead the Egyptian army.

The Battle

The Crusaders approached the battle by the canal of Ashmum (known today by the name Albahr Alsaghir), which separated them from the Muslim camp. An Egyptian showed the Crusaders the way to the canal shoals. The Crusaders, led by Robert of Artois, crossed the canal with the Knights Templar and an English contingent led by William of Salisbury, launching a surprise assault on the Egyptian camp in Gideila, two miles (3 km) from Al Mansurah, and advancing toward the royal palace in Al Mansurah. The leadership of the Egypt_adm_location_map.svg2Egyptian forces passed to the Mamluks Faris Ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Buduqdari who contained the attack and reorganized the Muslim forces. This was the first appearance of the Mamluks as supreme commanders inside Egypt. Shajar al-Durr, who had full control of Egypt, agreed with Baibars’ plan to defend Al Mansurah. Baibars ordered the gate be opened to let the Crusaders enter the town. The crusaders rushed in, thinking the town deserted, only to find themselves trapped inside. The Crusaders were besieged from all directions by Egyptian forces and the local population, and they took heavy losses. Robert of Artois, who took refuge in a house, and William of Salisbury were both killed along with most of the Knights Templar. Only five Templar Knights escaped alive. The Crusaders retreated to their camp in disorder, and surrounded it with a ditch and wall. Early on the morning of February 11, the Muslim forces launched a devastating offensive against the Frankish camp. On February 27, the new sultan Turanshah arrived in Al Mansurah to lead the Egyptian army, and the death of as-Salih Ayyub was formally announced in Egypt. Ships were transported overland and dropped in the Nile behind the Crusader ships blocking the reinforcement line from Damietta. The Egyptians used Greek fire, destroying and seizing many Crusader supply vessels. The besieged Crusaders soon began suffering from famine and disease. Some Crusaders deserted to the Muslim side.

Despite being overwhelmed and ultimately defeated, King Louis IX tried to negotiate with the Egyptians, offering the surrender of the Egyptian port of Damietta in exchange for Jerusalem and a few towns on the Syrian coast. The Egyptians rejected the offer, and the Crusaders retreated to Damietta under cover of darkness on April 5, followed closely by the Muslim forces. At the subsequent Battle of Fariskur, the last major battle of the Seventh Crusade, the Crusader forces were annihilated and King Louis IX was captured on April 6. Meanwhile, the Crusaders were circulating false information in Europe, claiming that King Louis IX defeated the Sultan of Egypt in a great battle, and Cairo had been betrayed into Louis’s hands. Later, when the news of Louis IX’s capture and the French defeat reached France, the Shepherds’ Crusade movement occurred in France.

Louis IX was taken prisoner.

Aftermath

According to medieval Muslim historians, 15,000 to 30,000 French fell on the battlefield and thousands were taken prisoners.[24] Louis IX of France was captured in the nearby village of Moniat Abdallah (now Meniat el Nasr), chained and confined in the house of Ibrahim Ibn Lokman, the royal chancellor, and under the guard of a eunuch named Sobih al-Moazami.[25] The king’s brothers, Charles d’Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers, were taken prisoner at the same time, and were carried to the same house with other French nobles. The sultan provided for their subsistence. A camp was set up outside the town to shelter the rest of the prisoners. Louis IX was ransomed for 400,000 dinars. After pledging not to return to Egypt, Louis surrendered Damietta and left for Acre with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners whom the Egyptians agreed to release.

The battle of Al Mansurah was a source of inspiration for writers and poets of that time. One of the satiric poems ended with the following verses: “If they (the Franks) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them :The house of Ibn Lokman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih”. —from stanza by Jamal ad-Din ibn Matruh.

The name of Al Mansurah (Arabic: “the Victorious”) that dates from an earlier period was consolidated after this battle. The city still holds the name of Al Mansurah today, as the capital of the Egyptian governorate, Daqahlia. The National Day of Daqahlia Governorate (capital Al Mansurah) on February 8, marks the anniversary of the defeat of Louis IX in 1250. The house of Ibn Lokman, which is now the only museum in Al Mansurah, is open to the public and houses articles that used to belong to the French monarch, including his personal thirteenth century toilet.

Age Of Eagles II, Napoleonics for Christmas!

The French march on.

The French march on.

Merry Christmas to all! I had a few great games over the holidays, both Napoleonic since I had gotten a copy of Age Of Eagles II (AOE2) from Steve G for Christmas. We decided to try them out at my place and see what was new. It was going to be a  “learning” game but we found that AOE2 was really unchanged! A lot of elaborations, explanations, and clarifications, but basically unchanged! Yea!!!

I really like AOE for its very simple yet elegant style of play that plays fast and give pretty consistent results based on the commanders play. I’m not going to give a big detailed report on AOE here since I’m dying to hit the painting table and work on my Russian “line in greatcoats”

I have found that over enough battles in the Napoleonic period you see how much initial deployment and the first opening moves counts for winning or losing a battle as troops are not that maneuverable. The first game, just Steve and I was over pretty much after turn two, we played out to about turn 10 but the writing was on the wall early.

Initial layout

Yellow shows Austrian deployment and movements. Red shows French moves and counter moves. The Blue lines show French artillery lanes of fire during the game.

Steve and his Austrians came on in the center of the table and I with the French on the right flank of my table side. I pushed forward in a sort of “bloom move” with the object of reaching a commanding hill near the center of the table. Troop movement was equal as I was Impulse and Steve was Columnar. I had the edge in shooting.

Initial layout2

Deployment from the French side.

I decided to place most of my artillery on that hill with a covering force to the left (I tried to give the appearance of a flank attack by sending the Hussars all pushing out that way) On the right of the hill I pushed part of my force towards the town and the rest flanking Steve’s right. My Heavy Cavalry drove forward in the direction of another hill already occupied by Austrian Hussars (his infantry deploying to the rear along the road) My plan was simple, defeat in detail, Steve was already splitting his forces (he had more troops 60 infantry, 16 Cav, 5 guns, to my 48 infantry, 16 Cav, 5 guns) by swinging half his force wide to counter my force on the left. He fell into my trap! I was not attacking there but defending! This kept half of his force moving, trying to deploy for most of the game, and ineffective with me just having to toss a bit of artillery at it to further slow it’s attack while I concentrated on flanking and overwhelming his other flank.

The Austrian "right" moves off to stop the French left, an attack that never materialized. This kept them out of the battle!

The Austrian “right” moves off to stop the French left, an attack that never materialized. This kept them out of the battle!

Austrian4My command of the central heights with my concentrated artillery able to switch fire to either flank was also very effective especially when he attempted to move troops out of the center town to reinforce his threatened right flank (hitting them in enfilade as well as in movement mode!)

French Artillery controls the center! These are ESSEX figures painted 20+ years ago and recently rebased for AOE.

French Artillery controls the center! These are ESSEX figures painted 20+ years ago and recently re-based for AOE.

AustrianDeploy

Austrians push on, deploying into a small tight area….

Steve’s and his Austrians fought well but they were off balance from the beginning and the ponderously large Austrian formations were so closely packed that maneuvering became impossible! My cavalry gave the small hill to my infantry who were now also backed up by some of the infantry that had feinted attack up the center towards the town.

The Austrian light cavalry make a valiant but vain attempt to stop the French Heavy Currassier

The Austrian light cavalry make a valiant but vain attempt to stop the French Heavy Cuirrassier and Lancers!

As the French Heavy horse moved off to try and flank the Austrians the Austrian infantry made a bold move and launched an attack at my infantry as it crested the hill in an effort to regain the initiative or disrupt my attack but some good rolls on my part disordered him further pinning him while my Cavalry forced one brigade into square while it was under infantry fire!

The small hill was the point of the heaviest fighting of the game with both the cavalry and large infantry battles taking place there!

The small hill was the point of the heaviest fighting of the game with both the cavalry and large infantry battles taking place there!

"En Avant!" "A La Bayonette!" The "Hill" receives yet more spilled blood!

“En Avant!” “A La Bayonette!” The “Hill” receives yet more spilled blood!

The Cavalry continued into the Austrians rear and with out much fighting it was decided that there was no way the Austrians could recover and fight it out, it would just be a slaughter…the honorable Austrian commander vonGausche not wishing to toss the lives of his countrymen away in vain surrendered…his other forces not even really committed yet quit the field and the game went to the French.

The French press hard on the Austrians who taking fire from three sides, disordered, unable to move, and seeing Heavy Cav in their rear, surrender!

The French press hard on the Austrians who taking fire from three sides, disordered, unable to move, and seeing Heavy Cav in their rear, surrender! The line of French troops in Red jackets and Buff pants are Swiss!

It was a Great game and really well played on both sides, fun! Got me interested in painting and playing more Age of Eagles Napoleonic battles soon! Check out the AOE website in the links section. If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to play give me a shout via the contact form on the site!

TB buildings

I now use 10mm TOTAL BATTLE miniature buildings from their Black Powder range! There’s a link to them in the link section. They really make towns look like towns!

Byzantine Birthday Build

My main gaming buddy Steve Gausche had a Birthday approaching and being a guy with everything I had to figure out a gift he wanted, he needed, and something he couldn’t get anywhere else….? Easy! A Byzantine Cataphract! Steve had SAGA Byzantine Warband painted by “Monty” he purchased about a year ago, but it had not come with the very cool fully armored heavy horse cavalry used by the Byzantine Emperor Belasarious! Steve had mentioned several times he might pick up and paint some of these. Knowing Steve I sensed this would not happen soon if ever!

BYZ7So with a couple of clicks on Gripping Beast website a 4 figure unit of 28mm BZC06 Byzantine Kataphractoi were winging their way across the sea to me and my waiting paintbrushes. Within a week they were sitting on my “workbench” going through the pre-paint process. That’s where I trim flash, alter poses, and fix any casting problems a well as make custom changes to the figures. I like to have figures that are unique and a bit better than a just painted of the shelf figure set.

BYZ1BYZ2

One of the first problems I found in the casting was that the riders did not fit very well on the horses, they fit but if simply glued in place there would be huge apparent gaps between horse and rider. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist in my figure work and known for taking time with details that most of the time only I would notice….oh well that’s me!

BYZ6I knew that the gap was way to big for simple filling with glue. Even milliput of other filler would not look right. I decided to use kneadite, blue / yellow, the 2 part sculpting epoxy (used for sculpting figures from scratch) and sculpt the missing space to look like the rest of the figure. This would mostly be some padding and chain armor around the figures legs.

Besides the filling around the legs I would do scratch built steel spears, spear points, copper flags, and a few other additions. I was planning on just using decals for the shields but as usual I was not happy with that and painted the shields by hand. BYZ4BYZ3

The Byzantines Kataphractoi Cavalry used “Kontos” a very, very long spear (some estimate it at around 21’) and I wanted that to be represented on these figures if I could. The only problem with that was that a true scale 21’ spear would create problems with storage as well as their use on the battlefield. I chose to use a spear length of about 15 scale feet as it gave a good “long” look and still worked reasonably well for storage in my case.

To the spear I added some flags and pennants. I sculpted some horse tail pennants as well just to give variety. I was not sure about the job at first but later pictures show it came out great, in fact I sometimes forget it was not part of the factory “sculpt”.

BYZ5On to the prime coat and as with most of my “metal” mini’s I used “Krylon” auto primer flat black. This primer not only works great but is very inexpensive, about $5 a large can.

BYZ6p1

BYZ6p2

No more “gaps” after the additional sculpting/filling.

Well after this point I got into my painting mode and didn’t take another picture until they were based and painted! I think they came out quite nice. I went back and forth as to a shield design, at one point I was just going to decal them, but in the end I hand painted them BYZ9as I like to do. Its a lot more work but I think it then gives you a true hand painted figure. I’m not a real good painter (figures yes but portraits, no!) but I took a stab at painting the “Savior” on their shields as I thought that was very appropriate. This gives them the feel of “being Protected by their Faith!”

 

The “Kicker” of this who story of “Steve’s Birthday Figures” is that Steve was touched, happy, and impressed with the gift of the “Byzantine Cataphract” but let slip that he was thinking of selling the “warband” since he did not like playing them….Lol! So I guess I’ll just do a unit of Viking Archers for him as he will like them a whole lot more….. the Byzantine Cav?  Well I may sell them or I just might paint a Byzantine warband for myself!

Hold the Press!!! News Flash!!!

Well many thought it would never happen but… yes it has happened, Steve’s dice have gone HOT!!! Long known for having the coldest dice this side of the Antarctic Steve Gausche rolled more “10’s” in one game than most of us have seen him roll over the course of years!

open

The battle lines are drawn, Rebs deploy to the left and right, a Rebel attack quickly develops on the Union right.

Last Saturday saw us running a tune-up game of Fire and Fury, (American Civil War battles using our 15mm figures) in preparation for next weeks Mega game were about 10 of us re-fight the entire 2nd day of Gettysburg!

The game was a simple exercise, Steve took 5 Brigades and 2 guns of Union troops to defend against my 7 brigades and 2 guns. I know it does not seem like a lot to attack with but the attacker given enough maneuver room can concentrate his forces much easier then the defender. There was also the fact that while Steve is know for rolling shall we say “poorly” I was dubbed “Major Roller” by our local club (the Bengal Club) so I figured it was well balanced…….

Union1

Steady men! Hold yer fire till I give the word…fix bayonets and prepare for a counter charge!

The opening of the battle saw me get what I thought was great position on him and I prepared to “pick” him slowly apart by defeating one side then rolling the line….. . I was so confident in the outcome already that I was not going to even take pictures of what I thought would be a fairly boring game, just and exercise in game mechanics! he was rolling a few bad rolls to start as usual and I boldly pushed two reb brigades through the woods on the left flank and launched a charge It was here my luck went south and never returned but for one brief moment later in the game. I rolled for the first brigade, they moved out but I had judged the distance wrong and they came up shot of the Union Brigade, and worse the second Reb Brigade rolled badly and failed to advance (confused orders?) This left the first CSA Brigade a sitting duck to the defensive fire of the Union infantry and just arrived battery of guns….Steve’s rolling was incredible and his really spectacular rolls mirrored my really bad rolls to further the damage inflected on me!

Steve rolled and blasted my poor brigade to pieces, it retreated back into the woods, disordered, and less several stands of infantry

Reb1

The 50th Virginia holds the center by the old Church. Rebel artillery prepares to deploy.

.A second pair of Rebel brigades charged the 2nd Union Brigade holding the Union right, again I rolled poorly and Steve rolled like a demon! Booth of those brigades fell back from the wall disordered, shot to pieces, and in no condition to launch another attack.

Reb2

Near the end…Rebel force are forced slowly out of the town and desperate back to back fighting rages all along the lines!

Steve continued to roll 8s, 9s, and 10s, in all the shooting phases, forcing me into a defensive posture… he was soon on the attack! It was downhill all the way, I had to use all my skill to try and fend him off, trying to rally my broken units and retreat off the board. It was not to be Steve skillfully closed both my flanks in on themselves until my Rebs were fighting back to back. I manage to save only ONE and a HALF brigades out of seven! I lost 27 infantry stands, 2 gun batteries, and 2 Colonels. About half of those were “captured” including the officers. Steve remarkably lost only 1 brigade! 4 stands destroyed, one captured along with a officer….the captured stand and officer returned when I had to beat a hasty retreat at the end…lol!

It was really great game and played to the bitter end in about 5 hours, 12 turns or so.

Union2

The Union left flank pushes out of town and around the Rebel right flank! This spells doom for the Rebel cause this day….

Reb3

The Rebels bravely hold their position at “the Wall” only indecision by the Union commanders saves them from a charge and destruction! This was the only Rebel brigade to skedaddle off to fight another day….

Are your “Old Figures Washed up”

One of the first boxes I made over 20 years ago! Even in the cleanest conditions dust will accumulate over time!

One of the first boxes I made over 20 years ago! Even in the cleanest conditions dust will accumulate over time!

Over the years I’ve amassed a pretty large collection of miniatures. Recently I have been going through them and paring down periods and scales to stuff I’m really going to game with or at least build in my lifetime…. My buddy Steve and I used to be “Big” into American Civil War and built up large collections of 15mm figures for our then favorite rules Johnny Reb 2. Well over time you find other periods and scales and the figures find themselves on the shelf, disused for years.

 

Even in the case, and the case in a cabinet, dust manages to creep in over the years! The outline in dust shows were the first figures have been moved for washing.

Even in the case, and the case in a cabinet, dust manages to creep in over the years! The outline in dust shows were the first figures have been moved for washing.

Recently in going through my collections I took a look at my ACW collection, recalling all the fun times had playing with them I remarked to Steve “we should start playing these again” he agreed. I gave my figures another look over and noticed they just did not look as nice as I remembered them?Over the years a fine layer of dust had coated them, even stored in my custom cases dust had crept in. What to do? Well a bit of air and a soft brush might help but I have always found that it was tough to really clean them well that way as the brush misses a lot.

For almost as many years as I have painted and played minis I have pushed the boundaries of prepping and painting them. Long ago and before it was common or even popular I was priming with “automotive” primers to give the paint a secure “bond” to the metal, resin, or PLASTIC! Years ago I began gloss coating my figures before “Dull” coating to protect them from damage caused by dropping, pizza fingers, and normal wear during play.  I knew that since these figures were some of the first I had used that method on that it would be safe to WASH them!!! Yes wash them… put them under a “gentile” stream of room temperature water and brush them gently with a large, VERY soft, long bristle,  brush. I use either a cheap one from a craft store or better yet one of my wife’s “old” makeup brushes.

By having the water directly hitting the brush it will spread the bristles and push them into and across the figure.

By having the water directly hitting the brush it will spread the bristles and push them into and across the figure.

Gently drying, no het. I'm also blowing in an oppisite direction of gravity to help from blowing figures off to floor. this would be better done over a table with a soft clot below.

Gently drying, no het. I’m also blowing in an oppisite direction of gravity to help from blowing figures off to floor. this would be better done over a table with a soft clot below.

If you try this I recommend doing only a few figures at a time so you can monitor the effect of washing and if there is a problem stop before it affects your entire army. Gently work the brush around each figure as the water flows the dirt away.

You also will need to force dry your figures. Just letting them set and “air” dry is not recommended as you may get some “spotting” from the minerals in the tap water. I should mention at this point that ALL my figures use a magnetic basing system (some figures directly on magnets, some on metal, with either metal or magnet lined drawers). The magnet makes the process much easier since the figures will stick on the surface of the metal or magnet covered board I use to wash and dry them on. This keeps the water and air pressure from tumbling the figures off the board… If you have a distilled or water filter system on your sink use that.

Using air compressor (on low)

Using air compressor (on low)

So once you have washed your figures you need to dry them and you can do this several ways. I use air pressure (soft) just enough to blow water off and leave a clean dry figure. I have a air compressor in my shop with adjustable nozzle, but a small can of “Dust Off” (compressed air) or a hair dryer will work fine. If you use the hair dryer don’t use the “heat” just the cool air. Heat may damage the paint or basing material (some magnetic sheet material has a layer of plastic glued to it and heat may cause the glue to melt and the sheets to separate). You need to decide what works best for YOUR figures.

 

Those dusty Confederate figures cleaned and returned to their clean drawer. Its a bit hard to see the difference in web pictures but its very apparent in person. These figures need some re-flocking but I'm going to re-base them for "Fire and Fury" anyway.

Those dusty Confederate figures cleaned and returned to their clean drawer. Its a bit hard to see the difference in web pictures but its very apparent in person. These figures need some re-flocking but I’m going to re-base them for “Fire and Fury” anyway.

Another reason for “drying” the figures is that most of us are using regular PVA (wood glue) for applying our basing materials and this glue will break down when its wet to long. I get my figures fairly dry, no standing water on them and let them air dry the rest of the way. WARNING!!! all my basing is magnet, steel, plastic, or some combination of these “water” resistant materials, if you are using cardboard stock (dude it’s 2015 not 1972!) be careful as the water may/will damage your basing. I now gloss coat my basing materials after the figure is finished so its sealed along with the rest of the figure. (I’m sure my figures will last many generations beyond me!)

So trot out those old figures, wash them up, and give them a new lease on life!

Bill Witthans

Old Glory figures after their "bath"

Old Glory figures after their “bath”

 

SAGA Tournament, Success!

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SAGA games almost as far as the eye can see.

Wow! What a great turn out and day of gaming! The last weekend in January saw the culmination of 3 months of game days leading up to Saturdays SAGA Tournament! Twenty players fought 3 rounds each over the course of 6 hours to determine the chosen few left standing at the end to receive some of the great “loot” from the prize table!

Last summer the Los Angeles based “Dog’s of War” miniatures war gaming group was kibitzing at their clubhouse or as we call it “the Dog Pound” and putting forth ideas for a get together outside the club to both promote miniature war gaming and hold an event with others outside the group. We decided to limit the scope of the project to our current favorite period and rules “SAGA” Dark Ages Battles. We hoped to meet new players, bring other SAGA players out of their garages, and even possibly create new devotees to the game. Several plans were put forth. We finally decided to run a series of game days where we would be able to both bring current players together as well as introduce new players to the game in a casual setting. Several different venues were considered for these events before finally deciding to start where we knew there to be gamers who were  interested in SAGA.

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We approached Chuck Robbins of the Game Empire in Pasadena, California, with the idea and got a positive response to our ideas. Soon we were holding regular SAGA game days every 2 weekends and the response from both current and new players was great. It

Mike and Chuck share a laff!

Mike and Chuck share a laff!

seemed that there had been a small group doing SAGA there months before but interest had waned as a few of the main players had moved. With the support and drive of the Dogs of War this was about to change. Any type of gaming, especially miniature wargaming interest level is critical and when gaming is sporadic or monotonous (same opponent every week) interest levels plummet. This leads to disappointment and a reluctance of gamers to invest money and time in a set of rules and figures that they feel will be rarely used, or the “enjoyment factor” will be low verse the investment.

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A couple of “Dogs” share a moment……

Well the “Dogs of War” are persistent, dependable, and dedicated, if they are anything and it showed in the final turnout where after a reliable series of game days the player count for the tournament exceeded anyone’s expectations and that even after half a dozen players we thought would surly be there had to cancel! The tournament was as big as several others I have seen at big conventions!, with better prizes, and more fun!

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Before I get into the tournament I want to thank all the “Dogs” for their hard work in putting this together, making the drive week after week, lugging terrain, mats, rules, and troops to teach, lend and develop new players. Chris Snell for all the above and always being there, Joe Naccio for his always on top efforts, building, painting, and contributing much more than we all really know (Joe painted his extra figure into the Viking Warband prize, the Viking Command stand prize, and provided all the “tweezers” door prizes!, David Dandridge for his level headed consul, devotion, and volunteering to not play and take the reins of umpiring and tabulating the tourney (woot I got to play!). Rick, Tim and the Sarge, Galen, Steve G, and all the “Dogs” well done! Rick and I both contributed prizes as well, Hills, Fatigue counter stands, trees, sacred ground markers…..

Ricks newest creation a turn record piece.

Ricks newest creation a turn record piece.

We all also need to remember that this would not have been possible with out the Game Empire and Chuck Robbins. The Game Empire is one of the last “Brick and Mortar” game shops left around LA and we all need to support them so events like this can go on! Chuck contributed to both the prize pool and the use of his store space resources over the last three months. Travis his store manager was always there to help and is a wealth of experience in running events, thanks Chuck and Travis.

my first opponent James and his Skraelings....

my first opponent James and his Skraelings….

The first rounds began shortly after 11am Saturday and the last finishing up about 6:30 that evening. The 20 players who registered and fought were as follows;

Frank VillaOrlad / Teutonic Knights, Jose Farinas / Crusaders, Christian Sorensen / Anglo-Danes, Dennis Bolin / Welsh, Rick Abbo / Moors, James Stilwell / Skraelings, Sara Stilwell / Vikings, Roger Stilwell / Anglo-Saxons, Bill Stilwell / Normans, Tim Daun / Anglo-Danes, Chuck Robbins / Normans, Igor Torgeson / Normans, Mike Gunson / Anglo-Danes, Bill Witthans / Vikings, Chris Armstrong / Anglo-Saxon, Chirs Snell / Normans, Steve Gausche / Vikings, Galen Yee / Anglo-Danes, Joe Naccio / Skraelings, and Jeff McArthur / ?

 

This great Viking army was built, painted and donated by Joe Naccio! Hats off to Joe!

This great Viking army was built, painted and donated by Joe Naccio! Hats off to Joe!

The current “goto” warband Anglo-Danes were the most popular and did well, but failed to make it to the top. Vikings and Normans were also well represented with Roger Stilwell’s Viking warband taking top spot and the grand prize of…what else, a painted Viking Warband! Hot on his heels for top honors was Chuck Robbins with his Normans going like Roger’s Vikings win/win/win and only getting edged down to 2nd place by 3 points. Chuck picked up a very nice Viking command stand painted and donated by Joe Naccio. 3rd place went to Bill Stilwell another of the Stilwell family gamers playing yet again another Norman

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

warband. Bill took home some of Rick Abbo’s custom “Fatigue” marker stands. Rick makes and sell these, email him for info. Dennis Bolin came in 4th place with the only Welsh warband to see action that day and took a set of “Sacred Ground” markers made for the tourney (made / donated by me). Jose Farinas came in at 5th and was rewarded with a set of trees (also from me) and last place, winner of the “Wooden Spoon” award was Chris Armstrong who’s dice utterly failed him! He gets a new set of dice from the Game Empire! Everyone else was rewarded with a cool set of “tweezers” a door prize from Joe N. and a great day of wargaming!

Some cool hills buit and donated by "yours Truly"

Some cool hills buit and donated by “yours Truly”

So as I played in and ran the tourney I was pretty busy so I’m not able to speak about all the other battles, just the ones I was in. First I fought James Stilwell and his Skraelings, James was a tough competitor and the Skraelings can give any opponent fits, I pressed my Vikings hard and they broke through killing his Warlord on turn 4. Next was Chris Snell, Chris and I have fought many battles before and he’s tough…normally I have Normans against his Vikings but this time he had Normans and I the Vikings! Chris has learned to finesse his Normans and gave me a hard time, we fought tooth and nail however I was getting the worst of it and my die rolls weren’t helping. I made one last effort to push into his Warlord. I killed all but one of his hearth guard, he ALL my figures save the warlord so that found our Warlords slugging it out for the next two two rounds with my warlord surviving TWO rounds of shooting from both a full 12 man levy bow unit and his near full strength crossbow unit! EPIC!!!! 4-5 people were watching and sheering this one!

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My Vikings charge over the hill, into Chris Snell’s Normans, and Valhalla!

My warlord killed 2 or three of his hearth guard and fought his Warlord as well while standing alone but then my warlord dieing at the end. The third round pitted me against Christian S and his Anglo-Danes in the Sacred Ground scenario. By this stage of the day I was tired, loosing steam, and poor die rolls did not help (my excuse “wink”) so smart play on Christians part had me and my Vikings return to the boats, conceding the game at the beginning of turn 5!

At this point most of the third round was complete and winners and losers then gathered to lick their wounds and cheer the winners. The Winners got to choose from a prize table in order of their placing in the tourney. Prizes went down to 6th place.

CucBilRodger

Chuck and Bill (me) present Roger Stilwell his 4 point Viking Warband for his placing first in the tourney.

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Our rewards!

Everyone had loads of fun, all were praising the “Dogs” and Game Empire for putting the Tournament on, and many asking when the next one would be. As the last players drove away the remaining “Dogs” packed away the gear and retired across the way to Lucky Baldwin’s Pub for some well deserved drinks and a bit of food!
Since some have asked the next SAGA event will be announced shortly, it will take us to the land of the Crusades! The next expansion of the SAGA rule set the “Crescent and the Cross” We will be doing game days leading to a tourney……details to come…..

Bill Witthans

Please enjoy the gallery of the days fun! There are more pictures coming so check back soon.