Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's a drizzly day here in Southern California, which is as I think it should be. I'll be popping a turkey into the oven in a couple of hours. Church, dinner, and then a movie before we are off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads!

I'll be seeing my three year old grandson on Thursday and my gift to him is some Britain American Civil War figures. I hope that he'll enjoy them.

It was on my fifth Christmas that I received a Fort Apache set. That set me on a course that I follow to this day. What a great hobby it's been for the 53 years since then.

Merry Christmas to everyone. May the love God through Jesus Hos Son change us all for the better.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Time Flies

I can't believe I haven't posted since July. But I had family in town for most of August and then school started, so now it's November.

I haven't done a lot of gaming, just some solo Regimental Fire and Fury. I enjoy the look and feel of that system.

On the painting end, I picked up some plastic Greeks and Spartans in 28mm. It took awhile to assemble them Nd I kind of lost interest once I started painting them. For my birthday last week I received some nice Perry and Victrix lead Napoleonic figures. The batch includes some British officers and some French officers and artillery. My 28m Napoleonic collection is becoming quite formidable.

If anyone out there is interested in purchasing some figures for Christmas, let me know ASAP so I can get them ordered and painted.

Lord willing, it won't be another few months before I post again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SYW Campaign, Days One and Two

The epic struggle for Europe is under way.  13 players and three assistants are pushing around hundreds of figures over the surfaces of three 6X4 tables trying to capture as much territory as possible.  Alliances have been made and then broken causing a great deal of consternation in various corners.  In the beginning, Prussia, Bavaria and the Hessian states stood together agains Russia and Austria.  France and Hanover signed a non-aggression treaty and remained neutral.  But Austria attacked France and Hanover joined with Prussia by the end of the day to alter the political landscape.  Below are some pictures from day one.
This is the eastern table, occupied mostly by Russia, but with some Austrian and Hessian holdings in the midst.

This is the central table, with the bulk of the Austrian territory on the left and the bulk of thePrussian to the right.

And finally, the western table, with France to the left and Hanover to the right.

Austrian cavalry routed a French intrusion onto Austrian soil.

Prussia came to the aid of its Hessian ally.  Three Russian brigades square off against one Prussian and one Hessian brigade.

Day two saw France make peace with Austria and begin a full scale assault on Hanover.  On the Eastern front, Austria turned its back on Russia and sided with Prussia.  Russia now stands alone.  But she remains mighty with many fresh brigades still in drawers ready to defend the Motherland.  Russian cuirassiers have destroyed an Austrian cavalry brigade as well as the Hessian cavalry contingent.  But Prussian guns have bettered their Russian counterparts, wrecking two batteries and heavily damagin a third.  As the day drew to a close, battles raged on the two outside tables while the middle table entered into a lull.  This isn't what yours truly had envisioned, but that shouldn't surprise me when working with teens and preteens.

Here, Austria takes advantage of its peace with Prussia to move troops elsewhere.

This is the Hessian stronghold.

Russian cuirassiers (lower right) prepare to seek revenge on the turncoat Austrians before they can do too much mischief.

Hanover's forces are crowded into a small area in an attempt to form a defensive line against the numerically superior French.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Final week of Camp VIP

We are endign Camp VIP with an elaborate experiment.  Every SYW figure I have will be made available for use on a battlegroud that will be comprised of three tables.  Seven different European powers will be represented in this campaign game.  The goal for each country will be to defend its domain while trying to take away land from others.  Each will also have a diplomat that can try to persuade other players to form alliances or agree to treaties.
I will have 14 players along with three assistants.  I am hoping that this will be an epic experience that will give the kids an understanding of the scope of the Seven Years War and the degree that it impacted Europe.  I should know early on if this experiment will work or not.  Posts with pics will follow.

The map above is a rough recreation of Europe of the 1750s.  The dark blue is Prussia, green is Russia, yellow is Austria, sky blue is Bavaria, middle blue is the Hessian states, gray is France and red is Hanover. The little black squares represent towns and the small ovals denote capitals.  The map will be broken down into three 6x4 sections.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our second refight of Chickamauga ended today with a Union victory.  Despite many desperate charges at the end, the men in blue held their line, including the coveted crossroads.  Special honors go to Dodge's inexperienced brigade that held off three times its numbers.  This kept vital rebel reinforcements from reaching the crossroads.  Starkweather's men gave ground to Polk's men, but kept them from getting around the left flank.  This also allowed Scribner's men to move to the center.  This tipped the scales of victory to the Union.  The 2nd Tennessee continued to add to it glorious record by winning two more meles before it was turned back by intense musketry.
Dodge's men continue to hold the hill.  Their casualties were light because the rebs kept charging with cold steel, only to be turned back by some incredible dice rolls by the yankees.

This is towards the very end of the battle.  The Confederate batteries have been driven off and determined Union counter-attacks have pushed the rebs back.  The line has held.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Regimental Fire and Fury round 2

 Today we began round two of our Chickamauga battle the the players switching sides.  I was curious to see if there were to be any significant differences between the two games.  I didn't have to wait long to see that there would be.
The video above shows the two sides gearing up for the day's action.  They were eager to pitch in.

Right off the bat it was obvious that the Confederates were going to be much more aggressive than their counterparts had been previously.  The casualties bore grim testimony to the change in tactics.  The the cost appears to have been worth it as the battle wrapped up today.  The photos below are offered as support of that opinion.

General Dodge's inexperienced troops did well for themselves on this day, holding off two or three times their number.

To the east of the crossroads General Baldwin's brigage stubbornly held on to this field. Baldwin,  However, was killed in the process.                                                                        

The commander of the Confederate right was particularly aggressive.  Brigadier Leonidas Polk was killed early on, but this appeared to only spur his crack soldiers on to avenge him.  The 2nd Tennessee distinguished itself by driving off a battery and then routing a regiment of infantry.

The prized crossroads were attacked furiously and the casualties were high as evidenced by the markers.  The men in blue are holding, but barely.  Scribner's brigade is on the way from the extreme left, but will they arrive in time to drive back the gray wave?  We'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Regimental Fire and Fury game

This week is American Civil War week. For the first time I am using Regimental Fire And Fury instead of Johnny Reb III. It took awhile for the kids to pick up on the differences, but as the game played out they all seemed to be getting the hang of it. We are fighting out a battle that took place at the end of the first day Chickamauga. Five Confederate brigades are trying to break through five Union brigades defending a vital crossroads. After almost three full game turns the Rebs are using superior numbers to roll up the Union right. The attempts to break through in the middle have been meager at best. And the Yankees are attacking the rebel right and is looking promising.

This shows the action on the Union right flank.  Dodge's brigade has been completely destroyed, and Dodge was killed in action.

This shows the crossroads at the end of the game.  It is still in Union hands, so the game was a draw, but the yankees lost many more men than the rebs.

It was a good game.  The kids picked up the rules fairly quickly and the battle seemed very realistic in terms of its outcome.

Tomorrow the teams will switch sides and see if they can do better than their counterparts did in the previous game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Week one of Camp VIP was a great success. We ended the week with a series of six small scenarios. A win would be worth 3 point, a draw one point, and one point would be deducted if a player had to bring in reinforcements. At the end of the day the French and Indians had piled up 9 points to the British 4, a clear victory for the French. Everybody had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed working withthismgroup. Special thanks are due to my three helpers,John, Matthew, and Brian. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

French and Indian War skirmish game

We are off to a great start.  12 players and three assistants are crowded around several tables depicting a forested valley in the American colonies.  On one end is a small town from which a road emerges towards the west and a frontier fort.  Amidst trees and streams are several farmsteads.  Branching off toward the south is a table containing a native village whose inhabitants are eager to bring havoc to this idyllic setting.

Many of the colonists and British were already on the table at the game's beginning.  The allied leaders were warned that raiding parties of French and Indians could appear from anywhere at any time.  The task of the red coated soldiers was to protect the town, the fort, a very strategic blockhouse in the middle of the table and the many farms that dotted the landscape.  Additionally, they were to try to destroy the native village which had become a seriousl threat to the locals.

The French and Indians, on the other hand, were to rain down terror on the valley, and set about their mission with great energy.

The first victory went to the French as they destroyed a cabin that had been built wrecklessly close to the hostile village.  Soon after that, three war parties appeared and launched an attack on the blockhouse.  This jolted the allied companies into a brisk response.  The fort was stripped of most of its defenders to go to the aid of the blockhouse, and most of the soldiers billeted in the town embarked on spreading out into the rest of the valley to defend the locals.  And then a large faction of French marines and militia appeared on the south side of the town.  The soldiers were recalled to fend off this threat.

On the second day of our conflict, more French regulars arrived at the Indian village and began to make their way toward the main table so as to storm the fort.  Some marines and Indians managed to sneak through the woods to the south of the fort where the lone company of the 28th Foot did their best to man the walls.  But the French and Indians were stunned when three companies of Rogers' Rangers disembarked from canoes and attacked the village.  Things had changed for both sides in a hurry!

By the end of our second day the French threat to the town had all but been extinguished, shot down by volleys from the disciplined British.  But in doing this, many units had been prevented from aiding their comrades to the west.  The blockhouse fell to the French as did four of the farmsteads.  Rogers' Rangers were roughly handled by the few defenders of the village and were completely dismayed by the arrival of companies of French regulars.  The attack on the fort, while menacing at first, had diminished considerably by the end of the day.

As day three begins the French have taken the lead in points, 225 to 170, but many companies are on the move and it is clear that much bitter fighting is still ahead.

The fort and the western end of the table, well defended at the beginning of the game.

The fortified town at the eastern end.

A farm about to be taken by a war  party.

Some of the players at the western end of the table.
I will conclude this report with a brief video from the very end of the day.  It is my first post of a video, and what I like most about it is the trash talking taking place in the background.  It's the best part of the game!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Camp VIP Begins

This coming Monday I'll be starting another year of my miniatures class.  I'll be offering three weeks this summer, and all three are filled.  We'll begin with a French and Indian War skirmish game using Sharp Practice.  I have dozens of units for the kids to choose from and I think it will be fun.  Week two will see us refight the Hornet's Nest at Shilo using Regimental Fire and Fury.  This will be my first time using them at the camp so I am interested to see how the kids react.  Finally, week three will be a huge Seven Years War recreation.  There will be five territories held by the different powers.  Alliances will be formed, treaties established and military objectives stated.  And then I am sure there will be deceit and betrayal; at least I am hoping so.  The French will be augmented with loads of Highlander mercenaries.  The Hanoverians will get some help from jolly old England.  The Austrians, Russians and Prussians will be powerful on their own. 

I'll be posting reports almost daily, so stay tuned.

Monday, June 11, 2012

This past Saturday, June 9, I had the last of four Saturday classes in my room at school.  13 young and eager wargamers showed up at 8:00 A.M. and battled fiercly until 12:00 that afternoon.  It was a fictional battle pitting three Union divisions agains two and a half Confederate.  The objective was a bridge in the middle of the table.  Despite being outnumbered, the Rebels went on the attack on their left and pinned down one Union division, destroying one of its brigades.  On their right, Hood's elite division did its best to tie down the other two Yankee divisions.  Law's brigade took the brunt of the punishment, but did delay Meade's and Doubleday's divisions enough for McLaws men to establish a defense.  In the end, neither side controlled the bridge, so it was a draw.  But the young generals all enjoyed the morning's encounter, it was therefore deemed a success.
The beginning of the game, Conferderates to the left.

The Rebel left, with the vital bridge to the right of the picture.

The Rebel left closer up.

This became the game's "Bloody Angle."

Just before the Confederate charge the last two turns of the game.

Most of the Union left's regiments got tangled up with Hood's men and never made it to the bridge.  Some important tactical lessons were learned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brock's field

My solo battle of Brock's field has come to a conclusion.  Smith's brigade pursued the fleeing Yankees to their ruin.  A hastily formed battery pasted the Tennesseans, driving them back to their starting points.  Wright was also checked in his attack on the Union right.

But the game came down to the final attack by Strahl's brigade through the woods.  His five regiments would be tangling with five regiments in blue.  The Yanks, however, had been diminished in both men and ammunition in fighting off Smith's attack, so they were at a disadvantage.

Strahl's men picked their way through the dense woods to make contact with the Union line.  A firefight ensued and the Confederates got the best of it.  Strahl's left hand brigade advanced through the tall corn of Brock's field and was able to gain the flank of the Union line.  Once that occurred, the end of the battle was in sight.  Strahl's rebels charged out of the corn and drove the Union reinforcements from the field.  Their flank turned, Palmer's division had no choice but to retreat and leave the field of battle to the men in gray.  Casualties on both sides were high, as the photos will attest.

Cruft's brigade counterattacks Smith's rebels and drives them back.  Their success, however, is shortlived.

Coming up in support of Smith is Strahl's brigade of five regiments.  They boldly approach the Union line.

Strahl's line overlaps Cruft's right, which spells doomed for the beleagured men in blue.

Cruft's men are spent and driven back.  The battle for Brock's field is over and a Confederate victory.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Battle for Brock's Field

I am refighting the battle of Chickamauga using Cozen's book for the details.  This game pits Cheatham's divison against Palmer's Yankees.  I have completed three turns and the outcome is still very much uncertain.  The men in gray got off to a good start, but have since been checked by the heroic efforts of Grose, Hazen and Crofton.  But the Confederates will be receiving an additional brigade, Strahl's to be exact, in the next few turns, and this could turn the tables dramatically.  Here are some shots at the end of turn three:

Smith's brigade attack's HAzen on the extreme right flank

Wright's brigade attacks the left flank

Wright's brigade makes good progress

Hazen's brigade stands strong against Smith's attacks

Grose's men regroup and hold back Wright's attack

Grose maneuvers his men to the flank of Smith's attack to great effect
At this point, the Union has been effective in blunting the Confederate attacks.  But in the near future an third rebel brigade will join the contest, and that could change things dramatically.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today's Game

I ran a Seven Years War game today for 12 fourth through sixth graders. The battle pitted a large host of Austrians against a smaller, more elite group of Prussians. There were 10 brigades on the Austrian side and nine on the Prussian.
Just about all of the players were new to wargaming, let alone the rules, but we were able to get through seven turns in about three and a half hours of actual gaming. The biggest mistake was that the Austrian players didn't start with assault orders, and at least three of their desperately needed brigades sat idly by until the later stages of the game.
Despite that, there were some rousing moments. One of the new players threw double sixes while firing his cannon at some Austrian cuirassiers. The whole group gathered round to see what would happen to the brigadier. He was only slightly wounded and just missed a single turn.
Several cavalry charges were stopped in their tracks by musketry on the way in, but one notable exception saw some Prussian cuirassiers pass their moral test and mele with a line of grenadiers. The grenadiers were literally wiped out and the cuirassiers cantered back to their lines to re-group.

It was a fun morning and all the kids said they had a good time.  Next month we move to the American Revolution.  Should be fun.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Seven Years War game

Tomorrow morning I have 12 kids plus an experienced helper showing up to play a large Seven Years War game based on Hopskirch in 1758.  I'll be using every Austrian in my collection in order to outnumber my Prussians.  It is hope that quality will at least be able to give quantity a run for its money.   We'll be using the Die Kreigskunst rules.  Hopefully, the kids will pick them up quickly.  We have a four hour window to get the game in.  I'll post pictures after the game.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sudan Wargame

This afternoon 11 brave young wargamers delayed the start of their weeklong vacation to participate in a large colonial wargame.  A 12 foot by 4 foot table was set up, bathed in the late afternoon sunlight.

Six native players were set to take on five imperial ones.  The native commanders could talk to one another, but the British commanders couldn't.  This proved to be a tremendous advantage.

The winner would be determined by points.  These could be accumulated by destroying enemy units as well as taking key geographical objectives on the table.  At one end there was a small town held by two companies of highlanders and two companies of raw militia.  Adding to the defense was a section of royal artillery and one of miserable native stock.  In the middle was a vital oasis defended by two companies of redcoats.  And then at the extreme opposite end was the bulk of the allied force made up of four British companies, three Egyptian, two sections of royal artillery, two troops of British lancers, two troops of Egyptian cavalry and a large baggage train.

To oppose this formidable force were several groups of native warriors.  Initially, this observer thought they would be hard pressed to make their way through sheets of disciplined fire to come to grips with their enemies, but this proved not to be the case.

The town, awaiting the assault
The powerful relief column
The two companies trying to defend the oasis are overwhelmed by native cavalry.

 The British were not able to coordinate their defense.  Each company seemed to fight a battle of its own with little or no support from the others.  Inevitably, each would be swallowed up by vast numbers of howling tribesmen.

This last picture is symbolic of the problems that plagued the British commanders throughout the game.  Note the limbered artillery at the rear of the town.  What a difference it could have made.  But alas, the two young lieutenants found this out too late.  It cost them and their men their lives.

Despite the lopsidedness of the victory, everyone agreed that it was a fun game.  As the young commanders bounded off into the coolness of the evening to begin their vactions, one could hear talk of a rematch being requested.  That's always a good sign.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unique Opportunity for MBMS Students: Military History Saturdays with Mr. Winser

Unique Opportunity for MBMS Students: Military History Saturdays with Mr. Winser

If your child has participated in a Military History in Miniature class with our very own Mr.Winser then you will be pleased to hear that MBAF is offering several Saturday Military History in Miniature workshops. The first two workshops will be held on Saturday March 10 and April 14 from 8:00-12:00 at MBMS, Room 213.

This class is open to students currently in grades 4-8 and can accommodate 6 students (grades 4-5) and 6 students (grades 6-8) for a total of 12 per class. Online registration with specific class content information and parent cost will be available as of February 15 at (Click on the Military History Class link.) Enrollment is accepted on a first come basis, so please enroll online ASAP. There will be two subsequent Saturdays later in the spring, with information and enrollment to follow after Spring Break. For any questions, please contact Nancy Rosenburg, MBAF Program Director at 503-1771 or If this class is new to your child, then you have an exciting and unique opportunity to consider.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pictures of Our RFandF game

Here are some pictures of our Regimental Fire and Fury game held on January 27, 2012 at Manhattan Beach Middle School.
The game gets started.  The Confederates on the left, the Yankees on the right.  The objective of the game was to gain control of the bridge seen in the upper middle of this picture.  Just click on the pictures to enlarge them.

This is from the Confederate left flank.  Hood's division, made up of crack troops, is taking on a larger number of green Union troops.  The South's rather aggressive tactics proved to be their undoing in the end.

On the Rebel right, the two sides came into conflict very quickly with the men in grey getting the upper hand.

A lonely rebel battery from Hood's division holds an intersection.

Hood's left flank is collapsing.

Towards the end of the battle, the Union had gained control of the bridge and thus secured the victory.
Unfortunately, our game was rather short.  But we did get familiar with the rules.  All 13 players felt like they were involved in the action and had a good time, so we considered the event a success.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Great game today

13 kids showed up today for a game of Regimental Fire and Fury.  Six Confederate brigades were given the task of holding off six large Union brigades, the major prize being a bridge over a small stream in the middle of the table.

Our time was short, and this was the first go at these rules for us.  Despite that, we were able to get through six turns in a little over two hours.  The Rebs did a solid job of holding back a disjointed attack on their right.  On the left, however, Hood's division lost sight of its major objective, which was capturing and holding the bridge.  The much larger Union regiments, though mostly green, were able to drive back a skeleton force while troops from the center were successful in capturing the bridge.  We had to end the game just as things were getting pretty interesting.  In the end, though, it was clearly a Union victory.  I'll post pictures over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Game coming up

The club I have started at school will be putting on its second game on Friday, January 27, from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M.  We are going to try out the Regimental Fire and Fury rules to see if they are a little easier for the students to pick and if the game moves more quickly.  There will be room for twelve players, though I am sure we will have more show up than that. 

Today at nutrition there were 20 kids that showed up to get an overview of the rules.  I have some painting to do to make sure I have enough stands for a decent scenario.  I am just finishing up Hood's Texans and the Louisiana Tigers.  Next up will be the Iron Brigade and Berdan's Sharpshooters.  I hope to have at least 150 stands per side as well as 12 artillery stands per side.  If I am really fast, I will also paint up some more Union zouaves, but that might be too ambitious.  I'll post pictures soon after the event.