Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Boyne - Groundhog day

The chap in the cap was the finest King James we had! Historicon 2010

With a recent post focused on our play test of Beneath the Lily Banners modifications I got to trawling my archive for previous efforts at recreating the Battle of the Boyne. I have a few!

Adding lots of troops on the north bank made it look very busy. Dumfries 2014

Here are some shots of some games large and not so large. Some date back a few years and of course the way we have represented the river has differed a little but all games were enjoyable and pretty.

Solo effort by me at Claymore in about 2009. I liked this game a lot

The models come from the collections of Dave O'Brien, Toggy Bob, Gerry Donohoe, Clarence Harrison, Adrian Howe and myself.

Redux at Claymore in 2016 and reduced in size too!

The captions do most of the talking in this post so....

Historicon in 2010 and Clarence's super terrain - many of these models stayed in the US

CH looking smug whilst I take the heat!

The 2009 game in Scotland - I also did it in Glasgow this year - that was brave!

The half men still get lots of positive comments

Dumfries again and we allowed lots more Jacobite infantry to reach Oldbridge

Terrain by Adrian at Dumfries. Oldbridge was probably too substantial with hindsight

Back to 2016 and the controlled playtest game at Claymore

We've had our money's worth out of the Boyne and that is for sure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Warfare GNW Mounted Russian Dragoons - New Sculpts

We have two sets of Russians sculpted with more to follow. We have chosen not to show the traditional dragoon pose with musket resting on calf. Our muskets will be attachable to the trooper together with the scabbard.

I noticed a comment on TMP regarding the horse sizes. This is an interesting case of wargamers preconditioning their own expectations and extrapolating out. The horses we have chosen are the 'mid size from EBOB. The horses shown in the blog  post on Grand Alliance period dragoons are EBOB small horses. Clib has obviously done a lot of work on both sets as anyone can see.

Dealing with the size issue, we deliberately chose not to use the EBOB large/heavy cavalry horse as it does not match with historical accounts of the type of horses used both by the Swedes and the Russians. Both used relatively small horses and the models are scaled to the horses.
A pre conception that all horses should be large and that the rider should be in direct proportion is simply not accurate. Often gamers want life to imitate wargaming and not the reverse. We stand by our decision!

Russian Dragoon troopers ready 1
GNW Horses - There are 5 new poses including officer's horse
Russian Dragoon Command
Russian Dragoon Command

Russian Dragoon troopers ready

Sunday, August 21, 2016

GNW Swedish Cavalry - new sculpts

I am so excited about these and the fact that we'll have them in production very soon. We have nine new troopers (soon to be 12) plus six new command plus 5 new horses.

Clib has pulled out all the stops with these and the preview shots here will be expanded with more detailed reviews of each code.

Swedish troopers charging 2

So for now here they are:

Swedish Troopers ready 1
Arms on the charging troopers are plug in and the arms on the troopers at the ready are single sculpts.

Swedish Troopers ready 1 (variant set to follow)
Scabbards are plug ins.

Russian sculpts will follow in a subsequent post

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Warfare Miniatures Mounted Dragoons - pre release view

BLB squadron size - six models

Well these chaps have taken a long time to appear but having had a chance to paint one each of the first six models and four new horse types I am hugely pleased with what we are about to release and believe them to be we worth the wait.

Dragoon horses - smaller than standard cavalry mounts

Featured here are three Command and three dragoon models in hats which could be used for many nations including English, Scots, Irish Williamite and Jacobite, Saxon, Dutch and various German states.

Dragoon equipment on the right side of the saddles

The model with carbine at the trail has a separate hand which easily slots into a socket.

One issue we discussed ad nauseam was whether we scale the horses properly to the smaller mounts which dragoons would normally have ridden. In the end we decided to bite the bullet and do it properly.

Mounted dragoon drummer from the Command pack

This horse size is likely also to have been characteristic of Swedish cavalry during the Great Northern War but that would be a real emotional hurdle to jump with gamers we believe!

Each code will be featured in detail over the next week or so and this particular post is constructed to give interested gamers a preview.

Guidon bearer with the standard of Conyngham's Enniskillen Dragoons

After my return from an imminent business trip I will paint up the six equivalent models in French uniform. Following that we hope to have the same combination in fur hats and then tricornes. Also in the pipe are a further three dragoons of each headwear variant: hat, French cap, fur cap and tricorne to flesh out the units. There were a lot of dragoons in this period!

In addition the horse holder variants are also underway.

Three dragoon variants - getting away from the trad dragon pose on the right

I have customized these particular models with green sprigs in their hats signifying allegiance to the Grand Alliance. They are painted as Conyngham's Enniskillen Dragoons circa 1689.

Command pack - the models also fit onto larger sized cavalry horses

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Boyne Redux

View from the south west with King James in the right foreground

Iconic and tantalising in its alternative outcome possibilities the Battle of the Boyne is one of those wargaming opportunities which keeps coming back.

In they go! The Gard te Voet wade the river whilst Williamite guns explode!

I chose it as the game of the day for Claymore 2016 for a few of reasons. It looks good for a start, it has a certain whiff of controversy particularly in Scotland and so becomes a talking point but most important it gave me a chance to play test some significant modifications to Beneath the Lily Banners.

Looking upstream and west. Jacobite dragoons defend the bank

Bob and Dave had not yet seen the mods and so, being familiar with the rules in general I wanted to find out if my changes improved or diminished the overall gaming experience.

The Danish and Huguenot contingents assemble on the north bank

Beneath the Lily Banners has been a super successful project for Clarence and I. Both editions of the rules sold out and continue to sell in the pdf format. There has been demand for reprints but thus far we have not committed to a further hard copy.

A fine shot of Dave O'Brien's dragoons fighting for King James

I have accrued many ideas and modifications since the 2nd edition was published in 2011. Recent experience with Donnybrook and an as yet completed but unpublished Pike and Shot rule set for smaller battles with larger units pointed me in a direction which aligned many of the conventions and mechanisms across our published rules.

The Blue Guards form up to take Oldbridge from Clanrickarde's Regiment

This desire was further fuelled by seven back to back games with BLB at Historicon which really got Clarence and I focused on incremental improvement, reduction of ambiguity, streamlining of mechanisms and intuitive logic if that is not an oxymoron.

Antrim's Regiment is now supporting the defence of Oldbridge

The output summarized in crude terms is less looking at charts and more concentration on the table.
Although the exercise is not yet complete it is almost complete and as often happens with such projects, extended beyond the original scope.

5,000 Danish infantry wait to be ordered forward and into the river

The next step is for a couple of playtest groups who are very familiar with 2nd Edition to run with the mods and see what happens. Our play testing has gone very smoothly and ironed out several small wrinkles but nothing shocking has come to the surface. Please treat this post as an invitation to contact me via to explore the possibility of playtesting the new mechanics.

Unsupported and with over 60% losses the 1st Bn of the GtV break under fire

Hope everyone enjoys our revisit to the Boyne. We didn't finish the game but we did get to the stage where the initial Jacobite resistance at Oldbridge was weakening and both Clanrickarde's and Antrim's regiments had been reduced to less than 30% effectives.

Huguenots and 2nd Bn GtV take up the struggle as the 1st Bn swims back in rout

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflections over the Pond - Historicon 2016

Our home for Wednesday till Sunday

I have remained largely silent throughout Clarence's running commentary on Historicon but having put both feet back on the ground in Blighty, it is time to commit some reflections of the trip to the blog.

The first 10 days of my trip were spent writing stuff about 1690s Ireland which means new pdfs shortly and some fairly major progress on the Ireland publications front.

10 days of this in FL whilst my family party-ied!
What we pledged to do over the four days was not for the faint of heart. On paper it looked like a lot, in reality it was an awful lot! Seven games with an average running time of about 2.5 hours each, two talks on wargaming subjects which I may transfer to blog posts - How to achieve decisive results on the table top and Why are wargames light on cavalry? (in keeping with the cavalry in warfare theme of the convention) and supporting the sales efforts of Le Roi Soleil in the Dealer Hall it all added up to a heavy schedule.

Steering the Kestrel was not achieved with universal success!

Pile on top of that our once in five year opportunity to talk face to face about our joint projects and trying to keep Dan Faulconbridge, Bill Thornhill and Dave Taylor out of trouble and the bar(s) and we definitely reached the end of the bungee cord on this trip.

It is a measure of our busyness that when confronted with a free afternoon to tour the battlefields of Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville we instead decided to sit at a coffee table with two pieces of teddy bear fur and work out new rule mechanisms... oh that sentence could have gone so wrong!

Serious Playtesting!

Historicon was a very uplifting wargaming experience. Total immersion gaming I would call it. The players are hungry for new rules, fun and dice rolling. Each one of our seven games was different and we watched teams of minds puzzle out (or not) how to solve the problem of the Penny burn. The final score was 5:2 to the Jacobites but the last game was settled by a game of Blackjack 21:20 - couldn't have been closer and another of the games could easily have gone to the Williamites so it could have been 4:3 or even 3:4.

Attention to detail - Clarence's model map was actually of the table!

We made excellent use of personal duels. Adam Murray fought General Maumont at least once but I think actually twice. In another game Lord Galmoy was wounded on the cheek and ran away to tell his mum or something. Maumont's mistress Molly Malone was abducted to be tutored in the Protestant faith in another game. A sea captain was left in port for being drunk, some officers changed sides and deserted the Jacobite positions and six Jacobites fell off a landing stage into the Foyle and drowned. A Jacobite sniper picked off most of the Kestrel's crew and annoyed the owning player Rich so much that he decided to broad side the rowing boat. That's when you know you have really got under someone's skin!

A beautiful model on a realistic river

We had camp raiding, house burning, ship wrecking and in the last game Adam Murray drowned in a bog! It was clear that pike and shot gaming is an untapped reservoir for American gamers and we were so encouraged by the response that it is tempting to consider doing it all again next year even though for me it involved eight flights from Glasgow via Heathrow, Tampa, Charlotte and Richmond and return.

See! we do BOTH exist in the same room at the same time!

Running some talks on wargaming/historical topics and managing an open mic session within those events was a very interesting experience. Listening to the views and questions from gamers really did add a lot of value for me and I enjoyed hearing the perspectives of several very knowledgeable people.

Murray - 'liberates' Maumont's mistress

The most curious element of it all was the Hilton Hotel cluster without bars or restaurants, well except one which was well worth going to just for this....

Immediately knight this barman.. this is a Glenfiddich!

A Fredericksburg barman, bless his soul and  God preserve him until my return, thought the above was the measure for a 10 year old Glendfiddich. My smile as he continued to pour greatly amused my drinking companions and the people who hadn't yet bought a round because you will not be surprised to hear, this lasted me about two hours and it cost about $8US. All you Brits out there take a really good look at the best $8 I never spent as it wasn't my round!

Was it all about religion? this chap seems to think so!

Historicon was perhaps not at its shiniest but my own personal experience was of the highest level. Recommendations: Hilton Hotels should upgrade their broadband, install bars and promote the barman mentioned above.

I am off red meat now for about a year and sugar too! Well maybe till Claymore anyway. Now, I'm off to finish my All American birthday cake.....

Diabetics look away... NOW!

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