Monthly Archives: May 2014

Historicon Play Tests


This Saturday several HAWKs got together to run some play test games for Historicon.  The first was my 10mm Napoleonic game of the Battle of Hanau using Fate of Battle.

Hanau begins

Hanau begins

The battle occurred in October 1813, after Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig.  The combined Austrian and Bavarian army squared off against Napoleon.  We will make a few changes to the scenario as a result of this play test.  The game went well, but all the action moved to  one corner of the table.  We are going to move the map so that more of the action occurs in the middle of the table.

Hanau in full swing

Hanau in full swing

The HAWKs are continuing our tradition of running the Armies of Kids Giveaway again this year.  These games, for gamers younger than 10, end with us handing all the participants two fully painted armies, rules, and sometimes terrain.  Some of the figures we paint ourselves, and others are donated to us for this purpose.

The kids' army giveaway play test gets under way

The kids’ army giveaway play test gets under way

This year’s project involves 25mm Napoleonic figures.  Eric will be running the game at Historicon, so we wanted to familiarize himself with Milk and Cookies Rules, which is the set we’ve been using for these games.  He ran a six-player game.  After two hours (the allotted time at the convention), the game was a marginal victory for the French.

The early stages of the Milk and Cookies Rules Historicon play test

The early stages of the Milk and Cookies Rules Historicon play test

This year’s donation included some nicely painted, classic wargaming figures.  It’s almost a shame to give these to kids who won’t appreciate the classic nature of the donated armies.  I may trade some of my Minifigs 25mm figures for these vintage figures.

The game went well, and Eric is ready for the convention.

The Teddy Bear side of the table

The Teddy Bear side of the table

The final game was an opportunity for Sammy to become more familiar with Milk and Cookies Rules.  She will be running this game, featuring the Eureka toy soldiers and teddy bears, at Historicon.  This will be her first convention game.

The objective of the toy box game

The objective of the toy box game

Sammy made all the terrain herself.  The game is quite attractive, and I’m sure it will attract attention.

Initial set up for Sammy's game

Initial set up for Sammy’s game

We will make a few changes to how she runs this game as a result of the play test.  The attackers need more forces.

We had a good, full day of gaming.

A nice bonus was that Chase Guinn, who was a cadet when I was teaching at West Point, joined us for the day.  I hadn’t seen him since he graduated from West Point.  It was good to catch up and game with him again.

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HAWKs Saturday NASHCON Games Report

Chris Palmer This past weekend 6 members of the the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) made a road trip down to the NASHCON gaming convention near Nashville, TN, to host over a dozen games. We were up early Thursday morning to load a 12-passenger van we had rented full of all our gaming equipment and suitcases, and we arrived at the convention hotel late that night after a 12 hour drive from Maryland. We were up early again Friday to unpack our van and set up for our afternoon and evening games. We ran 5 games on Friday, and you can read about them here.
Saturday we were back to the convention room bright and early to begin a full day of gamemastering. In the morning slot, Buck Surdu ran a Napoleonic game using “Fate of Battle” rules. The scenario was the Battle of Mincio Feb. 8, 1814.

I once again ran my Battle of Five Armies game using “Bear Yourselves Valiantly” (BYV) rules.  You can read a report about all the BYV games here.

On the third HAWKs table, Don Hogge and Greg Priebe ran a “Muskets and Tomahawks” game.

In the afternoon slot Duncan Adams ran a WWII game, The Battle of Maissin Aug. 22, 1914, using a modified combination of “Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII” and “A Union So Tested” rules

At the same time, Dave Wood was running a fantasy game called Rescue the Prince using BYV rules.  You can read about it at the BYV report link above.

And, in the same time slot Don and Greg were running a second session of “Muskets and Tomahawks”

We wrapped up the evening with two games.  The first was Dave’s ancients battle featuring Romans vs Germanic Barbarians, again using BYV.

The second game was a 10 player GASLIGHT Undersea Extravaganza run by Buck and myself.  You can read a full report on the game here.

This was our second year at NASHCON, and once again we had a great time.  We want to thank the organizers and all the gamers who dropped by to play or just say “hi” for showing us such hospitality.   We will be sure to return again in the future.

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HAWKs Friday NASHCON Games Report

Chris Palmer This past weekend the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) made a road trip down to the NASHCON gaming convention near Nashville, TN, to host over fifteen games.  We were up early Thursday morning to load a 12-passenger van we had rented full of all our gaming equipment and suitcases, and we arrived at the convention hotel late that night after a 12 hour drive from Maryland.  We were up early again Friday to unpack our van and set up for our midday games. I was slated to run “The Battle of Five Armies” using BYV in the first game slot of the con starting Friday at 2:00. You can read a report of that here.

The Battle of Five Armies

 In the same session Duncan Adam was running his homegrown WWII fast play naval rules, combining aspects of the popular fantasy naval rules Uncharted Seas and the Axis an Allies Naval miniatures game.  He has nicely modified and combined these rules into a fun historical naval game.

Charted Seas WWII naval game

On  a nearby table Buck Surdu was running his under-development G.A.M.E.R WWII skirmish rules, in a scenario called “Commandos Strike at Dawn”. It involved British commandos striking a German coastal installation to steal an encryption device.  The fast and furious rules are totally card driven and have diceless combat resolution.

G.A.M.E.R WWII skirmish game

In the Friday evening session, Greg Priebe ran a Dr Who Miniatures game which saw the Doctor and his companions landing the TARDIS in the middle of a French and Indian War battle where they sought to undo an ancient curse which lingered in the timeless forest of western PA

Dr Who, and his companions, River, Rory and Amy, make their way through a unit of Rangers unopposed, with the help of  the Doctor’s psychic paper

An overview of the Dr Who table

Also in the Friday evening session, Duncan was running a War of 1812 game using Wellington Rules.  The scenario took place a few weeks before the Battle of New Orleans, as Andrew Jackson’s forces attempted to repulse the British vanguard in a fierce night battle.

Duncan Adams does a rules briefing prior to the start of his War of 1812 game.

American forces move towards the British encampment in Duncan’s War of 1812 game.

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GASLIGHT Undersea Extravaganza Game Wins Award at NASHCON

Chris Palmer This past weekend the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) made a road trip down to the NASHCON gaming convention near Nashville, TN, to host over a dozen games. The big showcase game on our line-up was a 12 player GASLIGHT Undersea Extravaganza, using figures, vehicles, and beasties from both Buck Surdu’s and my collections.  We arrived at the convention hotel late Thursday night after a 12 hour drive from Maryland, and were up early Friday to unpack our van and set up for our midday games.  The Extravaganza was slated to run during the Saturday night game slot.

Buck and I with our award.

   We set up the game with four factions, a human exploration party, Fishmen, Atlanteans, and a “Bad Guy” human party.  Each team had it’s own list of objectives such as, Loot the Atlantean Temple, Steal secrets from the crashed submarine, destroy the exploration party’s power plant, etc..
  We were pleased to get 10 folks signed up for the game, ranging from young to old.  After Buck gave a rules brief things got underway.  The action was fast and furious, and there was lots of carnage,  and cantankerous vehicles to content with; and of course, laughter, cheers, and groans of frustration when things didn’t go according to plan.   Everyone seemed to have a great time, including Buck and I, and we had many passers-by stop and comment on the uniqueness and coolness of the game.  Most of all, we were pleasantly surprised when the folks from awarded us a Superior Game Presentation Award for our time slot.
 Below are some photos of the action.

Buck briefing the rules.

A view of the action early in the game.

A group of divers falls upon some Fishmen who were  in the process of looting the sunken pirate ship.

The Fishmen’s Giant Octopus attacks the Atlanteans Underwater Walker.

An Atlantean Ray Lancer attempts to hit one of the Exploration Party’s Attack Subs with a spar torpedo.

General chaos ensues around the wrecked submarine.  In the lower left of the photo, you can see that the Octopus has managed to topple the Walker and is now scuffling with a unit of Atlanteans.

Units from the Exploration Party carry valuable artifacts away from the Atlantean Temple.

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Log Cabin


I returned from Nashcon and just HAD to do something gaming related while I was still excited.  I bought another 4Ground building from Age of Glory.  After filing, priming, and basing a bunch of 15mm fantasy figures I will be using with my 10mm fantasy collection, I assembled the log cabin.  These are very fun kits to assemble.

Front of 4Ground Settler's Lofted Cabin 3

Front of 4Ground Settler’s Lofted Cabin 3

Back of 4Ground Settler's Lofted Cabin 3

Back of 4Ground Settler’s Lofted Cabin 3

from Buck’s Blog
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“Bear Yourselves Valiantly” Demo Games at NASHCON

Chris Palmer This past weekend the HAWKs (Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers) made a road trip down to the NASHCON gaming convention near Nashville, TN, to host over a dozen games.  Featured among these games were four demo games of our upcoming rules for Fantasy, Ancients, and Medieval mass combat, “Bear Yourselves Valiantly” (BYV).
  We arrived at the convention hotel late Thursday night after a 12 hour drive from Maryland, and were up early Friday to unpack our van and set up for our midday games.  I was slated to run “The Battle of Five Armies” using BYV in the first game slot of the con starting Friday at 2:00.

A view of my Battle of Five Armies table.

  I had a nice turn out of players, and Dave Wood kindly offered to assist me in my gamemaster duties.  After a rules briefing, we got down to playing the game. We had one player commanding the Elves, another the Men and Dwarves, and two more taking charge of the Goblin and Warg forces.

Dave explains a fine point of closing into combat to one of the Goblin/Warg players  as the Elven player watches.

  The Goblins and Wargs rushed forward as the Allies formed up and moved to meet their attackers.

The other Goblin/Warg player advances a unit of Wargs towrds the Men of Laketown.

The Goblin and Warg forces pressed hard, and despite many losses were deemed to be the victors at games end, having critically damaged the Allied contingents.  Unfortunately, we had to end the game right before the arrival of the Giant Eagles due to time constraints.

Gandalf puts a spell on two of the Warg units causing them to quarrel amongst themselves and attack each other.

Saturday morning I ran the Battle of Five Armies game again for another four players, and once again Dave Wood kindly offered to assist in the gamemastering.

A view early in the game on Saturday morning.

  In this running the Allies were able to stiffen their defenses and the Goblins and Wargs on the right had trouble coordinating their attacks. So in the end, with the Goblins and Warg armies badly damaged, the Allies were determined to be the winners.

The Elves defend at the base of one of the mountain’s arms as the Goblins and Wargs move to find a weak spot

Saturday afternoon Dave Wood ran a game of BYV using his collection of 25mm fantasy troops.  The scenario, called “Rescue the Prince”, involved an Elvish force tasked with rescuing a Elf Prince and his retinue who have gotten themselves trapped behind enemy lines.  Their way is barred by a forces of Ratlings, Goblins, Bugbears and Skeletons.

Dave’s 25mm fantasy troops based on magnetic stands for BYV.  Goblins and Elves battle at the rivers edge.

  At games end the “bad guy” side was determined to be the victor, as the Elves’ forces were not able to break through to the prince.

Dave watches as a player rolls his dice to determine if his unit stands to receive a charge

Saturday evening Dave ran a similar scenario, called “Rescue the Legate”, this time featuring Romans and Germanic Barbarians.

25mm Germanic Barbarians defend the river line.

     Unfortunately, I was running a GASLIGHT game at the same time, so don’t know the details of the battle, but was able to hop over to Dave’s table and snap some pictures of what looked like a hard fought battle.

Dave explaining the rules at the beginning of the game.

Romans and Barbarians clash along the river line.

We were very pleased with the way our BYV games went, and had a great time at the convention in general.  The players seemed to really enjoy the rules, some coming back to play in more than one of our games.  Many of the participants were eager to know when the rules would be available, and we were happy to tell them it wouldn’t be long now as we plan to have them released for Historicon in July.

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HAWKs Expeditionary Force to NASHCON 2014


For the second year in a row a subset of the Harford Area Weekly Kreigspeilers (HAWKs) from the Baltrimore area headed down to NASHCON for the weekend of gaming.  This year’s expeditionary force was Dave, Chris, Duncan, Don, Greg, and me.

Packing Up for NASHCON 2014

We had signed up to run 15 games throughout the weekend.  We tried to pack lightly, but 15 games in scales running from 1:2400 naval to 28mm ancients require a lot of terrain, figures, and other paraphernalia.  We rented a 12-passenger van, loaded it with our gear, and headed southward.

Unpacking at NASHCON

The drive was long — over 12 hours.  Despite some traffic snarls along the way, the trip was uneventful.  We arrived Thursday night.  Gaming doesn’t begin until 1400 on Friday, so we had lots of time to unload the van and then divvy up all the gear for our various games.

Steve from Age of Glory setting up his booth at NASHCON

Some of the HAWKs take a tour of the Battle of Franklin

Before the gaming began, four of us took the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Battle of Franklin around the Carey House.  I didn’t know much about this battle.  Without the guide, I’m not sure we would have gotten much out of walking the area, as there were very few markers.  The guide was quite good.

The calm before the storm:  breakfast on Friday morning before all the gaming began

We all found it interesting how many things occurred during this short engagement that gamers often complain about when those things happen to them in a war-game.  Examples are when the entire Union army marched past the Confederates encamped just 200 yards off the road they were using, a battery standing up in desperate hand-to-hand combat against determined infantry, units not moving when the commander would like them to, veteran units in entrenchments running away, but green units in the open standing, etc.  I was quite pleased that I’ve seen all of these things happen in games using the Look, Sarge family of rules.  A good set of rules should enable or allow such events while not requiring them or constraining them to take place.

Our first gaming session involved Chris Palmer’s Battle of Five Armies game with Bear Yourselves Valiantly, Duncan’s Charted Seas WWII naval game, and my G.A.M.E.R. TM  Commandos game.

Chris' Battle of Fire Armies setup

Chris ran this twice, once at 1400 on Friday and again at 0900 on Saturday.

The Battle of Fire Armies underway

Chris going over the Bear Yourselves Valiantly rules with some players

Duncan’s naval game seemed to go well despite only have two players.

Duncan's Charted Seas WWII naval game

Here are three shots of my WWII skirmish game, using G.A.M.E.R. TM.  I talked Steve from Age of glory into joining us for the game.  He is usually running his booth and doesn’t get time to play.

Commandos get distracted from their objective to engage some Germans in the woods

Advancing commandos

The scenario involved a group of commandos attacking a coastal villa to seize and Enigma machine.  They are supported by some partisans.  The partisans arrived too late to do more than divert some of the Germans.  The Germans were on the ropes much of the game and has half a squad head for the hills at one point.  In the end, the commandos stormed the villa but were defeated in hand-to-hand fighting with a couple of guards and two officers with pistols.

Steve conducts an attack with his Germans

I only had two players for this game.  There were many more games being offered than gamers for this first session.  I guess that this convention is largely attended by locals who chose not to take off work on Friday to game.  Light weights!  Lots of people commented on the G.A.M.E.R. TM mechanics later.  I think if I had run the game on Saturday, I would have filled it up.  The folks like the mechanics.

Don and Greg ran a series of French and Indian War games.  Friday night it was Dr. Who during the FIW using the Dr. Who Miniatures game in a scenario based on the Curse of Fenric Tom Baker episode.  This scenario, however, involved a more modern Doctor and his companions.

My Acheson Creation fort -- first time on the table

Greg always seems to attract all the women at a convention into his Dr. Who games

Amy, Rory, and River advance up a road

Saturday morning and afternoon, Greg and Don ran Muskets and Tomahawks.  The morning session was supposed to be a series of small games that would influence the larger afternoon game.  Only two people showed up for the morning session, but they seems to have fun.  The afternoon session was over full and went really well.

Don explaining Muskets and Tomahawks

They used the overgrown fort in the center of the table to divide the two smaller games for the morning session.  It looked neat and gave me some ideas for some scenarios I might run in the future.

Muskets and Tomahawks Saturday morning

Duncan ran his War of 1812 game using Wellington Rules.  The scenario involves an American attack to repulse the British before the Battle of New Orleans.  The game outcome was quite similar to the real battle.

The British encampment

Duncan has written some very nice night rules for Wellington Rules that open up the possibility for friendly fire and really limit command and control in the dark.    With my well-known dice-rolling luck, I availed myself of the friendly fire rule many times.  I had a unit fire on Dave’s unit in the flank three times and rout it.  Once they did make contact with the enemy, they didn’t last long before bugging out themselves.

Battle rages

My unit in hunting shirts that caused more damage to friendly forces than the enemy

Dave Wood ran two Bear Yourselves Valiantly games on Saturday, a fantasy one and a Roman one.  I didn’t get any good pictures of the Roman game, but here are two pictures of the fantasy game.  I played in the fantasy one and rolled a statistically improbable number of ones, which did not help me accomplish my objective.  In the end, I had to concede victory to the forces of evil who led my elven prince into slavery.

Dave running his fantasy Bear Yourselves Valiantly game

A close up of the heated action near the stream

Duncan ran his WWII game with a mashup of LSNC WWII, A Union So Tested (ACW), and his own ideas.  He had four of six players, but the game went well with the attacking French eking out a victory.

I ran my Fate of Battle scenario, the Battle of the Mincio River.  I had four players and could have handled six.  All four players were largely running the game themselves by the end.  The French did not manage to cut the road to block the Austrians, but it was a hard-fought game.

Mincio River

This was a successful test of this scenario for a convention setting.

Our final event of the convention was a ten-player G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. TM underwater game.  This game, because of its unique terrain and crazy contraptions attracted numerous passers-by.  We even won an award from the Cigar Box Battle blog for superior presentation.

Scout subs and soldiers of the scientific expedition

The disabled Nautilus is an attractive target

The anti-Nemo soldiers of fortune advance to loot the Nautilus

Lots of activity. Note the giant octopus doing battle with the Atlantean walker.

John Ohlin, who I used to game with in Tallahassee many moons ago

After a quick breakfast Sunday morning we finished loading the van and headed home.  The ride back was faster than the ride down, because we only hit one traffic snarl along the way.

Despite low attendance numbers at NASHCON that caused most of our games to have light participation and two games not go at all (Chris’ first Battle of Five Armies game and Dave’s WWII Look, Sarge game), we had a good time.  The rental of the van made the trip much more comfortable than last year, so when we arrived home we all were in much better shape.

The stats:  Six HAWKs, 12 successfully run games, 2 games that didn’t run, and lots of lead purchased.

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Treasure Chest: Figure 98 of 265

Chris Palmer

This week I didn’t have a lot of time, as I was prepping to go to the Nashcon gaming convention in Franklin, Tennessee this past weekend, where my game club and I ran 14 games.  So, I picked a simple Bones figure to complete before I headed out last Thursday: the Treasure Chest from the Dungeon dressing set.  
    I began my preparation in the usual way; soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying. I had sprayed this figure with the Krylon Fusion Flat Black, a couple weeks ago when I was experimenting with using it, and the paint on the chest was still a little tacky.  I glued the chest to a 1” black-primed fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and glued the washer to half a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s White Glue. 

To start the figure, I drybrushed all the coins and treasure laying around the base with Ceramcoat “Bronze”.  I then went back over the treasure and did a lighter highlight drybrusing with Ceramcoat “14K Gold”

Next, I painted the wood on the chest with Americana “Mississippi Mud”, and then did all the metal work on the chest with Ceramcoat “Metallic Pewter”. I also used this color to paint the hilt of the sword, as well as a coupe of pieces of non-coin treasure in the pile.

I now painted the scabbard of the sword in the treasure pile with Apple Barrel “Burnt Sienna”, and the sword’s grip with Accent “Real Umber”.  I let all that dry a little, and then gave the whole piece a wash with some thinned GW “Devlan Mud” wash.

After the wash had had a few hours to dry, I did highlights on the figure, starting with doing some drybrushing on the wood of the chest with Americana “Khaki Tan”, being careful not to get any on the metal bits. I then added some highlights to the treasure pile with the “14K Gold”.  After this, I took some Folk Art “Silver Sterling” and carefully painted some of the coins in the treasure pile as silver pieces. I also used this color to add some highlights to the metal work of the chest and hilt of the sword.  Lastly, I used a little Ceramcoat “Metallic Copper” and added a copper piece to the pile here and there.
   I let the chest dry for a several hours, and then gave it a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”.  After that dried, I flocked the base.   The next day, I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote” spray paint.

I think this turned out very well.  It was a nice simple figure to do, with a lot of good details sculpted in it which made drybrushing on it it very easy.

Figure 98 of 265: Complete

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Undersea by GASLIGHT.

Undersea by GASLIGHT.

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