Friday, September 21, 2018

Lord of the Ka-ching

A little something trivial for the weekend.

And fetch me my eye brow trimmers
(My father has eyebrows just like this, I must wary of my future).


GW has a new version of it's Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game out called the "Middle Earth Strategy Battle game" and I am very tempted to purchase it.  LOTR SBG was about the only GW product that I really enjoyed; I thought the rules were really good and the game fun to play if you limited your army selections* and it was LORD OF THE FREAKIN RINGS.  

And I haven't been paying attention to GW much lately, having no interest in WH40k or Warhammer, or Age of Sigmar or whatever.   While I do have a soft spot for GW because it was my first exposure to Miniature Wargaming, overall I have somewhat of a negative view of the ways that they blatantly skew game play this way and that in order to sell this model or that model, and continuous codex creep is lame.  Plus everything they do is super expensive and I don't like paying $20 for 1 figure.  
But I've also evolved as a gamer and grown more mature and my play style has moved away from tournaments and such like that anyway, and it could be a good idea to pick up the game now while everything is 're-balanced and streamlined.'  (for now anyway, before they ruin it with new releases)  I already know that I like the rules because I liked them before.   It doesn't help that I keep watching Youtube Videos about it and everyone is just super excited and PUMPED!  It doesn't help that some people are posting cool LOTR stuff on their blogs (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!)  😃

Side discussion: In the Beginning, there was only Warhammer 40k 

I got into miniature wargaming in my late 20s when some friends introduced me to WH40k. Probably around the year 2002.  I forget what edition it was.  I played it for about 2-3 years, starting with a Space Marine army because everyone said that was a good beginner army and then moved on to a nice collection of Imperial Guard because that army was more true to my heart.  However every game was starting to be the same; the enemy would have some 'Big Badass thing' (hence forth knows as the BBT) in the form of a demon, a large alien, a super elite killing squad, etc..  I would spend 2 turns shooting at the BBT while it moved across the board till it reached my guardsmen and then it would eat everyone.   Or I would take my own version of the BBT to counter their BBT and the whole game would rest on whose BBT won.  And sometimes I got lucky and wounded their BBT enough with lascannons that it actually died and then my opponent would get sad because their unkillable killing machine was killed by miserable little guardsmen.  I also grew tired of the "Grimdark" setting and just found Nurgle models gross.  One day while playing 40k I thought to myself "I really like this; models on the table, nice terrain, rolling dice.. this is super cool and fun.  I like this concept of 'wargaming' but this game 40k sucks."   Around the same time, on a lark, I went to a game store that wasn't a GW store and saw to my astonishment that there WERE OTHER COMPANIES that did miniature wargaming!  Hard to believe maybe, but for a good long while, I didn't know that GW wasn't the only company that made wargaming rules.  It's not like GW ever admits there are other companies out there and everyone I knew who wargammed played 40k.  I walked into that game store (Endgame in Oakland Ca. if you must know) and saw WWII models and some game called Flames of War (2nd edition) and after I picked my jaw off the floor I threw money at the counter screaming "gimme gimme gimme" and thought "Well, I'm never playing 40k again."

And that was that.  I became a Historical Miniature Wargamer, and I was home.

Old Armies

Except for LOTR (and StarWars and StarTrek).
So if I started it up again it's not like it'd be picking up a new genre, as I've already got a LOTR lead-pile (previously documented HERE ) and existing forces for Mordor and Gondor (when I moved years ago I basically gave away my dwarves and goblins).  Though looking a them now I have an urge to repaint many of them because I could do a better job now.   I painted some of these around 10 years ago by now and these are some of my oldest miniatures.  I think I started LOTR around 2005 or 2006 and before I learned what a wash was or perfected shading.

HEY! not all of us have been gaming since 1976...

So in a fit of Nostalgia I broke out all my LOTR figs from the cold storage facility known as the 'back of the garage where all the spider webs are' and had a quick inventory..

A bigger pile than I thought

The Forces of Gondor!

Sean Bean is my captain.

The Gondor Leadership



Defenders of Good

Aragorn (King Ellesar)
Boromir; foot and mounted
4 Faramirs?!!  2 mounted and 2 foot
Furlong the Fat
Prince Imhiril
2 Captains
2 Osigiliath Vets
3 Guardians of the Fountain Court
6 Citadel Guard
4 Swan Knights
12 Axemen of Where-ever
18 rangers
5 knights
11 Warriors of Minas Tirith (Womt)- Spear
14 Womt- Sword
8 Womt- Bows
 (95 Models)

The Forces of Mordor

Pics of Mordor always make me think of a Casino decorated for Halloween.
(It's all the smoke).




2 Nasgul
Gothmog; foot and mounted
Troll Chieftain
Orc Captain
9 Mordor Uruks
11 Archers
57 Orcs with varies weapons because I got bored and didn't want to separate them out.
(84 models).
-I need more orcs.

WOW!  more than I remembered that I had.

This Costs How Much?!

alternative title: is it still in fashion to complain about GW pricing?
Doing some research, I learned that to play the game one needs the new rulebook (which has all the rules and scenarios) and the new army list book (which has the stats for all the figures).  One seems pretty useless without the other, and each costs $60.  So that $120 just to get the info to play the game and that seems pretty steep to me.
I've must of been a historical wargamer for too long and have grown unaccustomed to Fantasy wargaming prices, not to mention the normal GW premiums.  For examples;

for $120 I've bought 7 different Age of Sail rule books that need nothing else to play but ships
-on a similar note $120 would be about 6 more ships for the fleet.

For $120 and with my Old Glory Army Discount, I could likely double the amount of ACW infantry
I currently own.

$120 would buy around 250 Gripping Beast 28mm Dark Ages warrior types.

You get the idea.  It just seems like F-ing a lot of money.  I usually don't mind paying around $50 for a rule book, or $20 for an expansion.  I DONT like paying for books full of army lists because invariably that means I'm paying full price for a whole book when really I only want a small section of it.  Half of the army lists in that book I'll have no use for and never look at. I checked and there are 27 army lists in that book and I have models for 5 of them! And it seems like a dirty trick to require both books!  and I feel like I'm getting angrier as I type this paragraph!  And I'm MOSTLY upset with myself because I bought them anywaaaaaaaaays.  

This is me trying to resist temptation

Least the shipping was free.

Oh, and I like to use these rules for large skirmish games set in the Dark Ages (Vikings, Saxons, and Normans) which I haven't done in forever.

And in all likelihood I'll read the books, make a few army lists and scenarios, and then put them on the bookshelf maybe never to be played because I'll get distracted by something else... working with BW on making a scenario for Post Captain based on the Battle of Ortegal where 4 British Ships of the Line (and some measly frigates) pounced on 4 French Ships of the Line as they were slinking back home after Trafalgar.  Coming Soon, to a blog near you.  This means I need more ships!....

Or maybe I'll actually start some LOTR stuff.  Who knows.  I can't be predicted.  I'm like my 5 year old daughter with too much candy. 

but seriously, I'm an adult and I know what I am doing, I am fiscally responsible, and all the above hopefully comes across as mock anger.

Without a Heading or a Course to Steer 

To indulge in some self analysis; I think part of the reason I succumbed to the extremely tempting temptation is that I don't really have a Hobby Direction right now.  I'm usually pretty focused on what I'm trying to do.  As you can see from the labels section in this blog, for the past year I've really just been doing AoS and ACW, almost to the exclusion of everything else.  It's not that I'm now done with those genres, but they have reached a comfortable plateau of "accomplishment."  The ACW battles and the AoS fleets aren't going to get much bigger (most likely not much bigger) Especially for the AoS, as the ships KEEP BREAKING.

I also don't need to purchase anything for one of my on going projects, so that means that the limited hobby money gets spread around as I drift through all my hobby interests.  This is not really a bad thing but something to be monitored; I imagine I'm like most almost middle-aged gamers; I can buy anything I want but I can't buy everything either.  So every purchase comes with an opportunity cost of buying something else.   Which only means that if I spend money on one project and then suddenly change directions, I should not spend more money again.  First world problems.  Who knew having a budget would be so limiting??! 

But one is more susceptible the "Wargamer New Shiny Syndrome" when one doesn't have a direction / current project.

So right now I have wandering mind until I settle down on something.  I will still employ the 'Rule of Two'** to the paint desk in order not to get too scattered.

Thanks for reading.  You are the best.

*what limitations?  I thought the rules fell apart some if you took the battlefield mega-heros or really heavy magic users.  Actually now that I think about what I remember, the magic powers overall were pretty dumb.  The rules for magic were alright, but the affects of some spells were way overpowered.  One of the main reasons that I really like LoTR is that the magic in those stories is rather understated.  Gandalf does NOT go around throwing fireballs during the Siege of Minas Tirith.  Yet in the game that is exactly what he does.  And it's kinda the BBT thing all over again but overall the rule mechanics had better ways to deal with it.  It was not the only one who felt this way but It was a general consensus.  The game just played more thematic if you stayed in the mid-power level.

** what rule of two?  A simple rule that I use: There can only be two hobby projects going on at once.  Anything constitutes 'a project;"  whether it be something small or something big.  However 1 of the two projects must be completed before anything else can be started.  In this way. instead of having small amounts of progress on multiple projects and my hobby area being cluttered by many half done projects, what I get is definite progress over a few projects 2 at a time.  because I like being productive.  So for example: right now on my desk I have the AoS fleet being repaired / re-rigged, and about 15 ACW CSA infantry stands primed waiting for painting.  One of these has to be done before moving onto something else.  

Monday, September 17, 2018

6 years of Palouse Wargaming Journal

I was just about to post on something really trivial when something really important came up..


I always assumed that Palouse was a description of the sound a French cannon makes as it fires off cream pastries... sort of a "Pah-Loooooose!" 

turns out it's a description of a geographic region in north western America.  There, now we all learned something. 

But It's Also an Awesome Blog

Palouse Wargaming Journal is celebrating it's 6th year of blogging, and to celebrate the author Jonathan is running a little giveaway contest, and since at my center I am a greedy person I'm totally going to participate!  

But you can too!  So head over to the blog and check out the giveaway contest by clicking right HERE, read the rules and wish him a happy blogging birthday why not.

I am a new blogger, with just over a year under my belt, and I have come to appreciate the fine example of a blog that The Palouse Wargaming Journal is, and long may it be.  

On a personal note to Jon; I greatly appreciate your participation on my blog, and I hope that my comments on your blog increase your reward for the constant quality posts that you provide.  

Happy Birthday to you!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Pacificon Game Convention AAR!

Been awhile since I posted due to Blah blah blah - who really cares - ON WITH THE GAME CONTENT!

Pacificon AAR

Pacificon is a game convention in the SF Bay Area over Labor day weekend.  It's a good sized convention; it's not as big as Kubla but bigger than the local Sacramento cons.  I was able to shuck my hundreds of responsibilities for 4 days of gaming with only little ol' me to worry about.   😃
I had the games that I was running all prepared, armies organized, and early Friday morning I gathered all my stuff together and headed off on the 2.5 hour drive.  

everything needed for 2 games of ACW, plus a bonus look at daughter number 1's artwork.

I stopped to see some friends and have a late breakfast in Fremont, and in the last 20 mins of the drive managed to NARROWLY miss being in car accident... I had to preform like a split S maneuver in order to save myself and the car; this resulted in the all my carefully packed plastic tubs full of miniatures and terrain careening all over the car...damaging some.  

so after the first sense of relief that myself and the car were unscathed, there was a big feeling of annoyance that my stuff got damaged and disorganized. 

what a mess!  my nicely organized units all...disorganized.

fixed!  that's more like it.
Now let's go see how the CSA looks


Age of Sail

Friday afternoon through the evening I played in an Age of Sail game hosted by Steve M. using his 1/1200 ships (mostly GHQ) and rules he wrote called "74."  The situation: 6 British Ships of the Line (SOLs) versus 12 Spanish SOLS in a battle loosely modeled on the Battle of Saint Vincent.  

British in the middle

It's a small fleet game set of rules, so I commanded 4 ships of the Spanish including the Flag ship the Santisima Trinidad; which while having a monster of a broadside (she did have 4 decks after-all) was absolutely terrible at everything else.  Slow, hard to maneuver, low morale, and a crew of untrained farmers.  My other 3 ships included 1 good one (fast, good crew, good broadside), 1 decent one, and 1 more SOL that was really just there to take hits.  

my flag ship

The game rules use preplotted orders for movement (writing down # of inches forward, turns and such) which is fun.  Sometimes your opponent will  Zig when you thought they were gonna Zag so you steered yourself out of position.  But when you guess right and line up a good shot it's very rewarding.  

And get this-- we Spanish WON!  3 British ships struck to 1 Spanish ship struck.  Talk about history rewriting itself.  I chalk it up to my born with natural superior seamanship skills (only recently discovered) and some extremely lucky dice.  The Santisima managed to pass every moral check she had to make and she had to make many because after the first scratch to her bulwark she needed a morale check if a British ship even looked at her meanly.

A giant mess in the middle of the table

It was a fun game, the people in it were nice, good attitudes, laughs, and some fun talk about AoS Miniatures and games.  Most were of the opinion that the best ship miniatures were made from GHQ hulls with Langton masts and sails, bc GHQ masts were brittle and Langton hulls were ridiculously big (but..but... my ships are all Langton hulls and sails (and I like them just fine.)


Saturday morning I played in an AWI scenario; BUNKER HILL, put on by Matt H.   Always a fun scenario is Bunker Hill.  This game was also GOR-geous with really well painted 28mm miniatures and terrain.  Extra fun: whenever a figure was removed Matt provided a casualty figure to lay on the table, so eventually the table got strewn with wounded soldiers which I just thought looked cool. The rules were Brother Against Brother which I haven't played before but gave a good game.  

my troops!

facing off against Bunker Hill

side discussion: Aggressiveness (no I don't mean between the actual players) and Convention games.
Let me tell you something about my wargaming self; I am not a particularly brilliant strategist, nor am I particularly lucky with dice, and I'm not all that good looking but:  if you need a player to aggressively attack an objective in a miniature wargame then I AM YOUR MAN!   How many convention wargames have you played where you were the defending player but the attacking players never really got the attack going so you just sat there the whole time with not much to do?  It's not a problem with me because I like to attack, and attacking drives the action of the game.  You want me on the attacking side because if there is anything consistent about me is that I will attack the objective!

So when it came time to pick sides I immediately volunteered to play the British.  Now there were supposed to be 8 players in this game but 4 never showed up so I got to play all  of the 8 units of regular Grenadiers who were to assault the hill.  PERFECT!

The hill is mine!

It was another fun game, good people and good GM.  At the end of turn 8 my British had decidedly taken Bunker Hill with 3 units in the trench.  Victory for the British!


Saturday night from 6 to 11, I ran one of my ACW games of Regimental Fire and Fury, the Barlow's Knoll scenario.  You can read about a previous play test HERE.

The game went faster this time with the CSA making an all out assault up the hill and driving the Union back.  I chalk this up to the minor changes I made on the CSA flank where I took away one element of broken ground, released the brigades on turn 1 versus turn 2, and tweeked where the units set up just slightly.  I also gave the CSA players a small pep talk about needing to attack though they needed no encouragement! The game worked well with 5 players (3 CSA and 2 USA), though in the future I will make it a 6 hour game instead of 5 as I think the extra hour will work better.  We did manage to play through to a good result though and the players were happy.

The CSA flank attack

View from the Union side

More thoughts about GMing later.
I am very attentive to the players when I run a game which is why I don't get many pictures during it.

More Age of Sail

Saturday morning found me at another AoS game, this time with the rules  Form on Admirals Wake with GM Robert B.  Now, it was this very same GM and rules that was my first AoS game ever about a year ago, so it was fun to see Rob face to face again and tll him how he started a whole new wargaming genre for me, how it's HIS FAULT that I now have 6 ships and plans to continue to grow the fleet.  Rob B uses Sails of Glory ships for his game, and mentioned that he had close to 80 of them.  But he doesn't really play SoG because he doesn't like the rules.

The situation; 2 British and 2 french squadrons that are basically the same face off  to see whose Broadsides and sailing is superior (2 3rd rates and 1 2nd rate per squadron).  I took the British this time in the lead squadron with the plan to beat up wind and then drive down onto the French which worked out really well.  In the end I had 1 ship that was crippled, while my opposite number had lost 2 ships and had the last running for it's life.  All in all, i think 4 French struck their colors to no British for another resounding British victory.  For the Con this makes me 3 and 0, not that anyone keeps track of these things (except that I do secretly on a score board that I keep under my bed).   I was also voted best British captain and received a SoG ship of the line for a prize!  most unexpected!  Rob was also very generous in that he gave us all a copy of the rules and the QRS which will come in handy when I start running my own Form on Admirals Wake games.  I already have the rules but lack a hex sea mat, plus you really need about a 6-10 ships per side in order to give players enough to do.

More ACW

Sunday night I hosted my other ACW game with Regimental Fire and Fury , a battle based on the battle of Port Republic but with the history changed some to allow for a more fair game.  The Fire and Fury website has this scenario as a free download that one can find HERE (look for 'Port Republic what if" scenario).  I made some changes to it like I sped up the reinforcement schedule and changed some of the deployment, all of which is boring to talk about so I won't go into it now.  At one point there were 6 players but settled into 5, with 3 CSA and 2 USA.  3:2 seems to be a good ratio for RFF with 3 being on the attacking side.  

CSA attacking from right to left

Now from left to right

The game was supposed to go from 4 to 10, but everyone was having enough fun and the game was close that we ended up playing past that, and I got to step in for a Union player and play a few turns even which was fun.  CSA victory as the union finally hit the "greater losses" negative modifier and began to melt away.  

Another good group of players for this game.  Special guest star of "Yellow Admiral" on TMP who played on the CSA.  It was nice to meet face to face!  

Other Games:

In some of my few spare moments I walked around and took pictures of other games that I wasn't involved in, because that seems to be the thing to do when you have a blog. : ) 

A Rank and File ACW game

Songs of Drums and Mohawks or some such similarly named.  

Big Battle Cry

What a Tanker, in the snow

A huge game of Bolt Action

Thoughts on GMing Games at a Con

So I ran two games, both ACW.  I had a really good time GMing at this con and was reminded why I do it in the first place.  And while it is nice when people compliment your toys (your game looks great!),  I do get extra warm fuzzy feelings when people compliment my GMing style, and tell me they had fun playing and that I did a good job explaining the rules and running the game overall.  When people tell me they had a good time during my game, I feel good knowing that I helped make their Con experience a good one because I want everyone to have as much fun as I am.  I consider both my GMed games to be big winners, which makes me 5-0 for the Con, what a streak! (i'll go mark my secret score board really quick).  


What a great time I had, even with the near car wreck.  While I might not be always lucky when it comes to dice, I have always been pretty consistency lucky when it comes to who is playing in the games that I am playing in or hosting.  While some people might be more boisterous (yelling out what numbers they need and having large reactions to the dice) and some more reserved (quietly looking over the QRS, rolls a die without fanfare, and nodding the head just once at the result) everyone I came into contact with were great players with good attitudes.  Hurrah for all of us.  

It's just too bad I couldn't sqeeze in one more Age of Sail game.... but wait!

Some More Age of Sail Games

  Monday morning I left the convention to head over to another friends house Mr PC.  Before I moved to the Sac area I used to live about 10 mins from him, which made it extra embarrassing when I got lost on the way over.

We planned on playing some AoS games so I brought my ships along to show him Post Captain.  We played a small scenario of 2 French 74s trying to capture an isolated British 1rst rate.  Turned out to be pretty fair fight.   We didn't finish it because I got there later than planned so about halfway through  we switched over to Sails of Glory, mainly for the reasons that I've never played it and he had it in the shrink wrap for the last 3 years.  I gave him my newly won SoG ship of the line.

I thought SoG was a fine game.  We kinda had to learn the rules while playing but I did like the way the ships moved around with the cards and thought that the ship management was simple enough with the deck board but still you had some choices.  Ship management is basically expected in any AoS game.

It's a Hard Life at Sea.

So as I mentioned earlier, I got into near car wreck on the way down, and the tub that held the ships went flying, resulting in some damage.  Real SOLs are sturdy machines of destruction but the miniature SOLs are dainty little girls.  
Anyway, while sitting at the kitchen table with P and examining the ships and talking about our plans and projects, we left left the ships out of the tub on the table and adjourned to his basement to look at wargaming stuff.  When we returned we were met by P's wife who told us that while we were down stairs the cat had jumped up on the table and knocked about the ships even more, even crashing one off the table onto the floor..

The 1 on the left is actually pretty unscathed, the rest have minor to major damage.
Total damages from engagements with a near car crash and a cat.

I don't have a cat, so I never saw it coming.  
I obviously have to find a better way to store and transport these things...
This is twice now that these ships have been destroyed.  ((shipping disaster)
(don't worry BW, I don't need another medal).  😃   (Special thanks BW)

But get this, the cat is named Tsunami.   
So all that damage is the result form the near car crash and then the cat / sea monster / tidal WAAAAVE!
Thanks for reading!  Comments appreciated as always.