April 26, 2011

My First Blog Award

I am proud to announce that I have been nominated for my first blog award by that rascally Aussie Docsmith. Now this award may be somewhat dubious since it comes with a 'chain letter' style rules requiring the winner to 'pass it on', however the fact that it comes from one of my peers (and one of my favorite blogs) makes it very special. Thanks, Doc!

Along with great power comes great responsibility. Rather than simply bask in the glory of my achievement, I now have a duty to:

1. Thank the nominating blog and include a link back (done!).
2. Share seven things about yourself, presumably beyond the realm normally covered by the blog (see below).
3. Nominate more blogs you deem worthy to share your honor.
4. Let them know you nominated them!

Ok, seven things about me you might not have known (and probably were just as well off)...
- I am a rock and jazz bass player... Billy Sheehan is my hero! I've played in bands most of my life and recorded several CD's. I simply don't have time to pursue this hobby right now, but one of these days...
- I play D&D... ok not a huge surprise, but I've been DMing games in my own fantasy world, The Realm of Quindia, for more than 30 years. Some twenty players have explored this world, including my brother who began those adventures with me and continues to share them today.
- I collect 'old school' D&D stuff - books, adventures, magazines, miniatures, etc.
- I am working on adding 'author' to my list of small contributions to the wargaming hobby (stay tuned).
- I am a huge Doctor Who fan - primarily of the Tom Baker era. I even have my own scarf knitted for me by by little sister...
- I have two birman cats named Napoleon and Josephine who permit me to live in their house. 

April 24, 2011

Easter Egg

Here is the official Army Roster Sheet for BLB2 (and works equally well for BLB1 while you're waiting)...

We'll work out a place to post a hi-res version, but for now I just wanted to post another little preview. Props to Joe North of Florida who inspired the design with some sheets he brought along to Historicon last year.

April 17, 2011

Beneath the Lily Banners News

This book will be off to the printer very, very soon (and pre-orders will be available from the League of Augsburg website). All of the layouts and final edits are finished. There are a few technical things to work out and I need to design the QRS. I THINK the cover painting is finally finished, though I may tweak right up until the last minute!

It is amazing how much work goes into one of these books - I've thought it was 'almost finished' for six months now. We really are going to ship this thing off in a week or so... no, really!

April 11, 2011

Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery - Part II

AC w/20 mm cannon
Hftk w/ Lt. MG
Hftk w/ Lt. MG
VW Kubelwagen
1 Hauptmann (SS equivalent), MP
3 Feldwebels (SS equivalent), SMG
3 drivers, MP
1 driver, SMG
3 crew, MP
20 men, Rifles and Hand Grenades
3 Pzfsts.
160 mm. mtr. w/ 20 rounds HE
1 Flamethrower


There has been unusual resistance activity in this area, and in the last few days a squad of Security troops  were wiped out in a battle with them. Only one old man, bearded, and with no weapons, was found at the scene of the battle. From his dress and general appearance it would seem that he was a Russian clergyman  probably there to incite the troops to greater bravery as the Communist commissars have failed in this respect.


The hiding place of the guerrillas is probably in a remote and wild area which is accessible only by means of a very old and rough cart track. You must proceed to this area, surround their camp, and wipe them out to a man. The suspected camp site is undoubtedly well-camouflaged, for aerial recon has found only very occasional signs of movement there.

The force listed above forms the basis for my Germans in this scenario. The photo is of some of the models in my collection, and though the infantry composition isn't quite right (though my final force may vary slightly from the army list presented above), the four vehicles in the scenario are represented. I have to paint a handful of black garbed vehicle crewmen, a trench coated officer, and the mortar crew, but my German force is almost finished...

April 8, 2011

Sturmgeshutz and Sorcery - Part I

The SS patrol had moved westwards parallel to the woods (and misty area) at the south end of the area. There was one ‘track and a few men near the road to radio information to the advancing body in case “partisans” should appear from the trees. As the main group passed through the mist radio communications were suddenly lost. Then they were through the fog, the stream was crossed, and careful observations were made on the two astounding features which shouldn’t be there! The boulders weren’t shown on the headquarters map of the area, nor was an intact castle! HALTE! came the command from the Hauptmann. The armored car, ‘track, and VW formed a lager. Time to reassess plans — The glasses revealed yellowish faces of unusual ugliness peering at the patrol from the nearby patch of rocks, and in the other too! And what was that tall shape in the far distance striding into the mists. At this moment the orcs broke cover, hoping to continue their luck; after all they had not yet been fired upon. Six automatic weapons opened up and cut the lot to bits.

This was intolerable to the Evil High Priest, and he visited a swarm of insects upon the offending Germans. The insects nearly drove the soldiers mad, and in haste they tried their best to drive them away using smoke. That and the wind relieved the situation, but only momentarily. Before the patrol could move their vehicles a man in a pointed hat and long gown appeared amongst the boulders farthest from the Germans, pointed his finger, and a great explosion ripped the VW to shreds, also destroying several of the tires on the AC. Stunned, the troopers returned fire too late to do other than wound this new enemy. Men piled into the halftrack and made haste to go somewhere — anywhere. At this point an even closer approach to the castle seemed advisable. As the vehicle drew near the walls a rain of arrows seemed to pour upon the ‘track, but the men plying the bows upon the walls were meat on the table for MG 34’s, and both fell dead with a few bursts. The Germans made a complete circuit of the fortress, lobbing a few mortar shells into the place once they attained the dirt road to the east of it. More insects swarmed upon them from skies which had but moments before been clear. Time to move on again quickly, for the distraction had allowed their fellows with the AC to replace the damaged tires. They could be seen climbing back into the car and it was time to withdraw before taking worse losses.

As the halftrack roared down the road away from the castle the AC began to cross the intervening terrain to join them. Suddenly a bright flash of light (a phantasmal fireball) burst before the carrier, and the driver thought himself blinded. Luckily his co-driver slowed the vehicle sufficiently, so that it simply rolled off the road and came up against the clump of trees to the northeast of the bridge with a slight jar. The passengers were not dazed — they could see the great troll and three ghastly greenish ghouls rush forth upon them from the monsters’ brushy lurking place. Near panic, the SS men blazed away with their weapons. Bullets smacked into the ghouls, and one dropped, but the other two clambered into the halftrack. The troll was also nearly into the vehicle when a desperate soldier fired point blank with his panzerfaust; the projectile took the creature full in the chest, exploded, and sent burning chunks of troll in all directions. While this was happening still another monster attacked — a giant insect-like creature which somewhat resembled an impossibly large scorpion. It clambered up the front of the ‘track, and from this position began attacking the men in the rear of the vehicle.

All was chaos there. The SS troopers were fighting a melee with the two ghouls, and had not one of them been particularly alert the scorpion-like monster would have wiped them out. A burst of fire from a machine pistol — the driver had finally recovered his vision — finished the thing. Only four Germans remained in the rear of the vehicle when the driver backed out of the trees and sent the halftrack back towards the safety of the everyday world of the Eastern Front. The armored car was awaiting them, its weapon trained down the path to cover their companions from any further attack of the nature just undergone. Nobody would believe it, had not the halftrack carried the remains of a ghoul as well as the insectoid creature draped over its hood!

Above flew an invisible magic-user, and he quickly put an end to the escape attempt of the halftrack. A sleep spell caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, and it crashed. The occupants of the armored car knew something was wrong, but they did not know what — nor where to look. The magician was in clear view overhead, but no soldier looked up, and his next sleep spell told for the AC as well. The remaining ‘track waited a short time and then hastened back to headquarters. What had happened? They could not say for certain, but what little they had observed was too fantastic for belief. The survivors of the foray were sent to rest camps, adjudged as suffering from battle fatigue.

One of the most treasured items in my collection is a copy of the Strategic Review #5 (December 1975), acquired along with a few others and old copies of The Dragon magazine when I first got into RPG's. The encounter above comes from an article in that magazine and was an account of a game put on by Gary Gygax designed to throw a curve to a regular table top wargaming group. One side was told to prepare for a WW2 skirmish game while the other thought they were playing a fantasy battle. The rules were an amalgamation of two of Gygax's rule sets - Dungeons & Dragons and Tractics. The article detailed the forces for both sides, maps, and mods to mix the games. When I was a kid, I thought this was fantastic and I have always wanted to recreate this game.

Back then, I had only a handful of miniatures and purchasing enough models to field the units presented was beyond me. The thought of painting 50-60 models also seemed a daunting task at the time. I simply filed it away as a neat idea, but probably not something I could ever really pull off. I revisited this idea at different times over the decades (holy crap do I sound old), but I could never find a satisfactory mix of miniatures. There have been games written now that embrace the concept as their central theme, but I still wanted to play the specific scenario presented in the magazine that I've held on to for all these years.

A few years ago, I even collected a small force of Artizan Germans and though I based the units on army lists for Disposable Heroes, I made sure the vehicles I included would allow me to use them for Sturmgeschutz and Sorcery. I still didn't have the fantasy models I wanted - enter Otherworld Miniatures. If you are unfamiliar with this company, they are dedicated to D&D minis based on the artwork from the Old School books. Not only was this exactly what I wanted to capture the nostalgic look of the game I wanted, they mix well with my Artizan models. I have been watching their catalog grow for the last few years and recently they finally have everything I need.

I don't expect this project to take up too much time. I already have most of the WW2 models I need painted except for a handful of vehicle crewmen. A good bit of the fantasy stuff has been painted for earlier projects as well. I just ordered the last handful of models I need. Over the next few posts, I will post pics of the forces I've collected that are based very closely on the article from 1975. I still have a few details to work out - for instance, I don't have a suitable castle model and am trying to decide if I should build one or simply substitute a fortified manor or similar smaller structure.

Any, hopefully you will indulge me this departure from more serious wargame activities while I try to recapture a small part of misspent youth!

April 7, 2011

Count Tilly

The last two models from my TYW commission, the great man himself and more angry horses...

This project was a lot of fun and has got me thinking about returning to my ECW project, but I have something else in line that I've wanted to do for a VERY long time and only recently have the stars aligned to allow it... ooooo... mystery! Stayed tuned!

April 6, 2011

TYW Colonels

Here are three gentlemen able to afford horses to carry them to the battlefield, otherwise known as Colonels...

April 4, 2011

TYW Febru... oh, Crap...

Ok, I fell woefully short of my goal timewise. Events in my life have conspired of late to limit my painting time, however I am finally finished and have a happy customer!

I'll have pics of the officers and old Count Tilly himself later this week (they are finished as well, but why blow update opportunities all in one day?) and some shots of these stalwarts in action and proper formations as well!

April 2, 2011

Goodbye TMP

Recently I noticed the editor of The Miniature Page posted a poll, "Rate Republic to Empire". This sort of thing is meat and potatoes for websites and forums - I've run the occasional poll here. However, for some reason Bill Armintrout chose to start his poll with this...

Writing in the June issue of Miniature Wargaming, authors Bob Barnetson and Bruce McFarlane reached this conclusion about Republic to Empire:
...the gaming experience is simply awful.

My issue is not with the poll, or indeed, with any comments posters might make, but with the editor himself. I have sent him the following letter...

Hi, Bill.

My name is Clarence Harrison and I am one half of the team that created Republic to Empire and I'd like to know why you chose this quote from an article in Miniature Wargames for the one liner in your poll...

    ...the gaming experience is simply awful.

I'm writing to let you know I don't appreciate this. The game has been reviewed in Wargames Illustrated, Battlegames, and Soldiers & Strategy as well - all with positive results.

Charles Grant wrote this about Republic to Empire...

“The superb presentation and wonderful pictures might lead the casual observer to believe that Republic to Empire is the equivalent of a coffee table book -  a visual spectacle to be admired. And so they should be but there is far more than that! The rules are very well researched, clearly explained and most importantly eminently payable. They are admirably suited to big battles but also to smaller games. Barry has introduced mechanisms designed to reduce the all seeing and instantly reactive abilities of the wargamer while rewarding initiative and forward thinking. This development really does help to reflect the realities of the tactical battlefield of the time. Suffice to say that this is not just another set of Napoleonic rules – it represents a real step forward in reflecting Napoleonic warfare on the wargame table.”

As a result of your poll I see so far that 140+ have voted they have 'never heard of it' (which seems strange to me since it has been the subject of numerous threads on TMP), so their introduction to the rules is your one line. The authors who rendered that quote tried one game on a 4x4' table.

This is the SECOND time you've started a thread with this quote (link) and my partner and the author of the book placed his response there, though this was to the reviewers not to you. I'm not speaking for him now, but I am removing the link to your page from my site which has been there for ten years. Not a big deal for you since TMP draws far more traffic than I do, but from now on when I'm on some of the other forums I frequent and people ask' "Did you see the thread on TMP about..." my answer is "I don't go there any more."

I'm off to remove my link to TMP from Quindia Studios. It's a shame, really, because I LIKE the news page. My main issue is with the forums which frequently seem to bring out the worst in some of our fellow wargamers. Here is one of the most recent gratuitous and pointless threads which is typical of the kind of thing you find on TMP. From now on, you can find me here or on one of these forums...

Fighting Talk
Steve Dean's Painting Forum
Lead Adventure Forum