Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Bye-atus.

That's Hiatus with a B.

Because I like messing with words, and because we're saying goodbye for a while. 


Oh, it's nothing so dramatic.  I'm just gonna take a break from all things blogging for a while. 

I'll flatter myself that there's one or two people out there who enjoy this blog and look forward to my stupid posts.  So this is just to let them know that it will be long time before the next one, but I'm not dead in a ditch somewhere using my last breath trying to post lame memes.  

This has happened before in previous years; I get busy and hobbying takes a back seat.  I thought I would make it more official this time around is all.  I'll still be doing some miniature wargaming from time to time, just not blogging about it.  This is my ONLY hobby afterall.  If you don't count restoring ancient Egyptian erotic pottery.  But that's not so much a hobby as it's a passion.  

This blog is lucky enough to have people who regularly comment on it; and those people are unlucky enough to be inflicted with my comments on their blogs.  Poor saps.  But if they're like me; one comes to expect it, and when not there, one wonders why.  (that was an awkward sentence wasn't it).  

I'm not giving you the silent treatment.  Just taking break.  Go on being you.  I won't be reading blogs very much or writing comments.  Which is a shame because I just conquered the list of top 10 commentators on the Palouse Wargaming Journal....  

Everyone El-is is Jeal-ous.

Don't feel like you need to leave a comment on this post.  It's nice if you do, but this is more like a service announcement and anything important.  

I'm sure I'll return in few months all refreshed.  

Thanks for reading.
Double thanks for writing a comment.
See ya next year.  


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Pacificon Convention AAR


It was another glorious drug fueled, alcohol fueled, game fueled convention over the Labor Day weekend that is called Pacificon.  It's been a few years since I've attended, and it was good to be back in action. 

Even if I was trying to shrug off the last tendrils of a serious cold; that's where the drugs come in.  What drugs did you think I meant?  I'm getting too old to be doing bumps in the men's room.

Alcohol and Games?  Well, it IS a convention after all.  Here is my rambling personal accounting.  Going to be lots of pictures.  

Pacificon Convention AAR

Pacificon was held on Labor Day weekend from Friday Sept 1st through Monday September 4th in Santa Clara California (in what is known as The Bay Area).   I don't have numbers for attendance because I'm not in the know.  The place was certainly hoping from my perspective; in game scale terms I would say that Pacificon is a large skirmish, nearing a mass battle.

Friday morning I gathered all my stuff together that I would need to run my game.
Not too bad.  Good thing my game was in 15mm.

Arrived at the hotel without incident, checked into the convention to get my name badge with no problems, and found my roommate the fabulous Mr DR.  Then hit the game floor.

Games On

A great guy that I've been getting to know over the last few cons I've attended is Mr RG, who ran his own Star Trek rules, which I was itching to play.

Here is your damn Borg cube.
Told you it would be incredibly big.
But what a great job he did. 
The cube even had little lights shinning out.

Other ships and game shots:

I thought it a superb touch that he had his own custom dice trays. 

I got a prize just for playing in the game and having a good attitude.
Captain Kirk Socks! Hi-larious.

Friday night I went on to play in a game called Circus Maximus.  It's a chariot racing game Ben Hur style where ramming and whipping the other chariots is encouraged... even necessary. 

A huge race track and 15mm chariots.
I'm pretty sure this is an old Avalon Hill board game, that he 'biggified' and modified slightly for more carnage.

Saturday the majority of the day was playing in my friend Jay White's utterly MASSIVE and EPIC War of the Ring game.  1000s of 28mm LOTR miniatures from game workshop.  The game was based on the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.  

Who the Hell has 5 Mumaks??!!! 
He does.

Part of the Mordor Army ready to assault Minas Tirrath. 

also a STUNNING model of Minas Tirrith.

I felt very lucky to command the Rohan force.
That's about 2/3s of them.
The white maned horse in the middle is Theoden, 
who Survived the battle!

"Ride for Ruin and the World's Ending!!"
yes I shouted the line outloud.
We were all shouting quotes from the movies.
It wasn't just me.
(it was mostly me)

"Take them them head on!"
(yeah, mostly me)

This game was easily the epic show stopper of the con for me.  Great host.  Great group of players, an epic display.  It was a loooong game and lots of fun. 

You can see more of the game on Jay's own blog and his account of the convention HERE
He has much better pictures.  At the end most people thought it was a pyrrhic victory for the evil side; having won the battle in the field but being so weak now it couldn't assault the walls.  But I THINK that us good players were pulling ahead.  

Later on Saturday night I played in a car racing game called Thunder Alley.  It's also a board game 'biggified' but on a massive scale.  I think the track was about 12 feet long.

All the cars had LED lights underneath them that would switch from Green to Red
to show which had activated.


Sunday morning came around and it was time for me to host my ACW game "Afternoon on MacPherson's Ridge."  Takes place during the battle of Gettysburg, where two divisions of the CSA assault the remnants of the Union 1st Corps on the ridges outside of town.

Pictures of the whole table set up.

CSA pushing the USA off the rolling ridges, but can they push hard enough???

I had a great group of players.  Jay White (who ran the WOTR game earlier) also played to 'scratch my ACW itch" as he said.  So if you went to his blog for more WOTR  there's also more pics of my ACW game there as well.  Lucky for all us I'd say.  
Also playing was all around good guy Mr. Ix, who helped as official assistant GM as he knows the rules well.  Even if he made the silly mistake of putting his troops into extended line....  (inside joke).

I would say the game was a smashing success.  It was scheduled to run from 10am to 6pm. At 10am I had six players.  4 p[layers stuck around for the whole game, 2 left and 2 new ones subbed in.   Around 5pm I addressed the players; "look, we oughta wrap this up.  Mainly because I am out of cigarettes but also because we're supposed to be done by 6.  Right now the game is tied with 3 victory points each and 3 turns left in the game.  However, I don't think anyone is gonna kick us off the table and I am here all night, so we COULD keep playing if people want to...." 
And everyone playing shouted at me that they had to keep playing to see which side would win, and to get out of the way already.  "Fine," I said, "We'll take a 15min break so folks can grab snacks and drinks (but mainly cigarettes) and the war shall continue!"  applause all around.  We kept playing to 7.  

I got lots of nice compliments about the game's appearance and my GMing.  Which is, of course, why I do it.  This war-machine of me is fueled by caffeine, nicotine, and compliments.  

The rest of the convention (Sunday night and Monday morning) I spent playing board games with a motley assortment of characters (most of which I knew).  I didn't take any pictures, because pics of board games are boring.  

Other Games

I won't pretend to be like our European friends who go around trying to document every game.  I didn't.  But here are some other games that caught my eye while I was doing other fun stuff. 

This game had a train on it.
Which makes it cool.

Gaslands using 40K orcs.  Jay White and his buddies were playing,
brilliant models.


My friend and convention roommate Mr.  DR put on this game,
set in some war no-one's ever heard of but is somehow Naps. 

Test of Honor game being set up

A battle of Hoth game from StarWars

A Vietnam game

A great looking game set in some conflict I've never heard of


To me the convention was a great success.  The hotel was clean and the room was nice.  I gave myself a budget of $500 which I broke.  Most of that went to the room and food and alcoholic drinks (next time I got to remember to bring my own).  I decided to live large and pay for the convenience of the onsite food services; which were VERY good tasting and ample portions, just expensive.  Like ballpark expensive.  Though by the end of Sunday night and Monday morning the nice people running the food stalls were giving me free extra "just take another one, I won't charge you."  
There were cheaper food options a short walk (a local Mexican place that I went to twice) and a short drive, but really I barely went outside.  Which is great, because the outside is lame.  That's why games take place inside. 

Most wargaming weekends have small peaks nd valleys, and this convention for me was ALL PEAK.  I never had a bad game, every player was fun and had a good attitude, everyone just happy to be there.  Most of my games were a mix of familiar faces and new folks.  I never went hungry or thirsty (plenty of water coolers spaced out), the staff was nice and friendly (the convention staff and the hotel staff).  There were games going on literally ALL the time.  I mainly looked at miniature games because that's what I like.  Seemed to be hundreds of board games being played as well.  I'm told there was roleplaying and LARPs going on somewhere out on the periphery, which let's face it, is probably where those players are happiest.  

I didn't pay close attention to the  flea markets or auctions because  I already have enough unpainted miniatures and board games that I never play.  Plus, coming soon in my neck of the woods is a Historical Wargaming Swap Meet that I'm planning on going to, so I wasn't motivated for flea markets.  Besides; these days I'm not so much interested in purchasing someone's aborted project for pennies on the dollar than I am in buying someone's already completed and fully painted project for big monies.  

Overall I had a great time.  So good in fact, that as I drove home I got depressed as I remembered that I have a wife and children that will probably want me to do stuff for them.  

Thanks for reading.
Double thanks for writing a comment,
till Next time.

Friday, August 25, 2023

McPherson's Ridge Complete


Oh that the ACW, 
is the best CW,
by now I've convinced you.
time for the last ACW,
the end of the ACW,
with your friend of the ACW,
its the end of the ACW
ACW time with Stew.
(that's me).

McPherson's Ridge Complete

Everything being done, it's time to get it all onto the table and see how it looks.  Time to see if all these disparate pieces made individually will come together as a whole.   

I did some mental gymnastics to lower my expectations; because nothing in reality really matches the images you have in your head.  reality always lets you down.  Like I have this idea of how I look in my head and then I see myself naked in the mirror......

As this is the end result of 3 months of hobby dedication, you'll forgive me in advance for the large picture barrage...

McPherson's Ridge

Previous part can be seen HERE

And here we go: 

Whole table.


The scenario is set on a 5' by 7' table, so I set up 3 of my folding tables for a 6' by 7.5' which gave me some room on the sides.

One end of the table.

This is the side that the CSA will be attacking from.

The forest bases and fields do drape nicely over the hills.

I'm pleased that the railways cut (on left) and the road (on right) look suitably different. 

Seminary Ridge with the Lutheran Seminary and Thompson House.
The Thompson house later served as Lee's HQ.

East McPherson's ridge running down the center.
West McPherson's ridge has the the McPherson Farm marked by the barn.

Herbst Woods butting up to the Willoughby Run (the stream)

I'm pleased with rolling hills effect.

I'm pleased that the wheat fields look decent.

Whole table again from an artistic slant angle...

Lets add troops! 

Naturally I wasn't going to set all this up and not do anything with it.  That would be like getting dressed up to watch TV.  So on a Friday, at the stroke of noon, the wife went to pick up the kids from school, taking with her the destructive 2 year old, and my friend CG came over to play a game.  We can do this because I have Fridays off and CG is retired so time means nothing to him.  

We played the scenario that takes place in the morning. where two CSA brigades are attacking while the union has 2 brigades from the first Corps arriving.  

Scenario set up pics

As the scenario starts, On the Union side, The Iron Brigade is in the process
 of deploying behind Herbst woods. 

Meanwhile on the Confederate side,
Arher's brigade is poised in front of Herbst woods.

Naturally they collided.

The above photo also illustrates well why I went through the trouble of making a base for the area of woods.  Half way through the game and the trees have been moved, the fences jostled out of position, but by the darker green players still know where the woods begin and end. 

I just think this is a pretty picture.

That's enough pictures.  You get the idea; I made table and played a game on it.  

Actually, I'm gonna play TWO games on it.  I cashed in even more hubby points to have my buddy AS over to play again not even a week later.  We played on a Thursday morning while the kids were at school.  We can do this because I have thursdays off, and AS is retired so time ALSO means nothing to him.  

Second Game set up.
The same scenario again

The Seminary catches the morning light

I won't labor you with a ton of pics.  
well alright, a few more.

CSA on the attack.

The Iron brigade smashing in with a counter attack.


I think the table looks nice.  Damn nice.  Not jaw droppingly gorgeous like I am (as I see myself in my head), but very good.  Could use more trees and fences.  WHY DO I ALWAYS NEED MORE TREES AND FENCES???!!!!    Definitely good enough for people to come by and take pictures while at a convention.  

This was my first attempt at making 'a table' versus 'a terrain piece,' if you get my meaning. I enjoyed the process.  There is more that I would do for it but I'm basically out of time.  Pacificon is the first weekend in September.  Plus, I had to post some pics for Dave Stones Terrain challenge.

Though I'm gonna have to trot this out several times, to conventions and club games to make sure I get enough appreciation and attention.  Wait, I don't mean appreciation and attention, that makes me sound vain and shallow.  

But yeah, I mean appreciation and attention.  


Speaking of Conclusions:

As alluded to in the above text, summer is over and school is here.  Now I get back my nights as the children will have to go the bed on time. 

To wrap up summer we had our traditional family water balloon fight in our backyard.  
We call it fight, but it's mostly the kids throwing balloons at me while the wife takes pictures. 

Son #3 was mostly happy just messing with the balloons

Son #2 and Daughter #1 were smart enough to change into swim wear.
I was all "you guys aren't even gonna hit me, I'm too fast too furious, I don't need to change..."

Everyone had fun and the kids didn't even complain when we had to pick up all the balloon scraps.

Thanks for Reading
Doable thanks for writing a comment.
Till next time.