Tuesday, August 31, 2021

More Napoleonic Eye Candy

As promised, a quick comparison of Eureka and Irregular.  As you can see, the former are a full head taller than the latter.  The really mean it when they talk about 18mm vs. 15mm, don't they?  C'est la vie, they pass the arm's length test.
These three objective markers come from Eureka.  A well, cross, and...the rifle stack was a kit-bash of extra musketoons that probably should have been glued to the French cavalry.
Since I'm eyeing Chosen Men we'll probably be playing a lot of fights between foraging parties.  That means we'll need some forage.  In addition to a couple of heavily laden donkeys, we'll need a couple carts, and these come from Irregular.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Bit By Napoleon

 It finally happened.

Reading through some old Featherstone books, I've been bit by the Napoleonics bug.  Maybe it's age and the fear of not getting to the things I always meant to get to, but whatever the reason, I'm eyeing horse, foot, and guns.  More than eyeing, I've been slapping paint!

The gun on the right is new, and matches up well with my other cannon.  I bought a crew in older uniforms painted in gray to allow them to be used for either side.  Meanwhile, four French cannoniers stand by to serve.  All eight are from Irregular Miniatures, but I think the guns are from Eureka.

Okay, these Frenchie bois are really suited up more for fighting in the French Revolutionary wars, but whatever.  My Brits are suited up for the American War of Independence.  Squint.

This unit of line infantry are also from Irregular and they paint up really well.   I'll throw together a comparison shot of Irregular with Eureka figs next time.

Meanwhile, I've even got some horse boys, seven in all, to go with them.  With all of this done, I now have enough forces to start playing around with Osprey's "Chosen Men".
Eureka just send me more metal figs so that I can expand my current 300 points of Red vs. Blue and add in some variety.  Then maybe we can think about running a Featherstone map based campaign just like they used to do.

Friday, August 20, 2021

It Begins

Remember when I said the following?

[W]hen a critical mass of people adopt [the lost art of Gygaxian campaign play] for their own table, you can expect a deluge of smart-boy posts from the Usual Crowds staking a claim to have "always known" about the glories of real-time and always-on gaming.

It begins:

This is another aspect of old school play that I think is forgotten nowadays: the play of multiple characters. In my House of Worms campaign, this is not unusual. Most of the players have several characters whom they can play at any given time, depending on what is happening in the session.

It's nice to see a recognition of the value of Gygaxian play.  Really looking forward to Jimmy Mal discovering the value of 1:1 timekeeping and having always used it but just never got around to mentioning it until lately.  Grognardia is also on the cusp of discovering the joys of faction play all on his own from reading the Big Three D&D books and just about ready to tell you all about his breakthrough realizations that he had all on his own. 

Not even being ironic or sarcastic here*.

The guys who have been pushing the D&D envelop and making Real D&D sing for the last year or so have been pushing back against some pretty stiff resistance.  To see others adopt and claim the OG (Original Gygax) for their own is gratifying.  While I can't speak for the rest of that crowd, I can speak for myself when I say that I'm not pushing this new/old style of play for my own gratification.  I genuinely want to make play better at your table, and if it takes time for these ideas to percolate through the culture deep enough for the smart boys to pick up the signal and run with it - great!

Heck, J-Mal probably doesn't even understand where this new shift in the conversation came from.  It's just...you know...this thing that's out there or whatever.  You can't explain it, it's just one of those "nothing can stop an idea whose time has come" things.  It's just what people who shall remain nameless because everybody is talking about it are talking about.  And hey, if it's an idea that needs somebody to jump in front of the parade dedicated to it, rest assured there are plenty of people trying to sell you products who are more than happy to jump in front of the band.

Meanwhile - you and me? - we know where these discussions come fromWe know who to watch to see what people will be talking about next month, and why.  We know why people are talking about last month's news.  As usual, we're one step ahead of the crowd and already turning our attention to deeper mysteries. 

*Okay, maybe a little.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Random Shots

 As we ease into the weekend, let's take a look at a couple of preview shots of battles coming up on The Joy of Wargaming.  First up a look at Osprey's "Black Ops" which features a surveillance fight gone wrong when competing espionage agencies arrive to gather blackmail from the same luddite professor's backwoods cabin.

And here's what a game of Patrick Todoroff's "Nightwatch" looks like when dwarves encounter undead in a high, rocky desert.

Both of these are parts of on-going campaigns featured on the channel.  They are great examples of the rich experience this hobby has to offer when you embrace long-term play with steady advancements and long-term injuries.

fun this weekend, guys.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Epic D&D Made Easy Through Faction Play

Jeffro spitting fire on the latest episode of Geek Gab:

There's a key moment where Jeffro points out that Modern D&D cannot handle a moment like that in The Two Towers where the Fellowship of the Ring breaks up.  Taking a broader view, I would contend that a truly Epic D&D campaign requires Chantisonian faction play.

For those of you out of the loop, Chanisonian faction play takes its name from a combination of Chanticleer, a notoriously hilarious Twitter firebrand, and Dave Arnseon, the man who married the Braunstein proto-RPG with Chainmail to create a style of D&D that seldom sees the table today.

The premise is simple:  Each player earns or is given a character with a clear goal and the resources to achieve that goal.  The goals for each player can be mutually-supportive or mutually-contradictory, but generally speaking no player has enough to "win the game" outright.  This forces players to work with and against each other to achieve their character's goals.  This is a style of play that embraces henchmen and hirelings, and encourages players to think not as a lone wolf, but as a member of a more heroic managerial class.

In practice it looks like this:  A city on the border of civlization, run by a corrupt Duke.  Player A is a climbed to the rank of Captain and earned a warchest before quitting the service of the corrupt Duke.  He wants to carve out a castle and small barony from the wilderness outside a border city.  Player B is a cunning thief who has backstabbed his way into leadership of the city's thieves guild.  He wants to take over the whole city government.  Player C is a druid who wants to check the growth of the city and preserve a sacred grove out in the woods perilously close to Player A's intended castle.  Player D is a cleric who has been appointed to the city to re-invigorate the flagging faith of the citizens.  

Throw them into a blender and see what happens. Does the merc make a deal with the druid to protect the grove with promises of pushing back against the city?  Does the cleric enlist the mercenary's aid, trading moral authority and combat buffs in exchange for muscle to push back against the thieves guild?  Do they all agree to work together to overthrow the Duke?

The easy example from literature is Game of Thrones, but I'm already bored so let's look at a good fantasy epic instead. Most people think of Lord of the Rings is a pure good vs. evil tale, but if you look close you'll see that it is a factional story.  Sure, Sauron and Saruman are loosely allied and we all know Sauron will betray Saruman at the first opportunity, but those are still two factions.  On the side of the good guys you've got dwarves, elves, Rohirrim, and Gondorians.  Heck, even the trees represent a separate faction.  Yeah, they all want to beat back the Dark Lord, but they don't always agree on how or where.  There's a lot of negotiation that goes on in those novels.

The Fellowship acts as a wild card.  They run a few delves, and manage to take a few pieces off the gameboard (the balrog) or move pieces onto it (the army of the dead) to counteract other potential factions.  The army of the dead arise from a delve, and in the books do little more than negate the power of the Corsairs of Umbar.  Even the super-ghosts of Peter Jackson fail to insta-win the campaign.

If that's the kind of play you're looking to get out of D&D, then you've got to turn away from static parties and pre-written scripts and embrace the chaos of faction play.  In a lot of ways, it'll make your job as the DM a lot simpler.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

New Era, Who Dis?

 Sometimes it do be like dis:

Yeah, I made the mistake of re-watching Master and Commander. Naturally, that means I need to get into a new era and scale of wargaming. Happens all the time.

I'm going with 1:2400 scale figures and that means tumblingDice.co.uk.  as a complete noob, I went with two starter packs, the American and the Barbary pirates and privateers pack. The tumbling Dice website does list which packets are included, but I thought you might want to see what they look like lined up on the table.
ASA17 - Napoleonic Sinking Frigates

Sharp eyed readers will notice that the pirate and American packs that I've ordered are limited to the smaller 5th rate and below ships.  I'm okay with this, as it represents a bit of a toe-dip, and if the era plays as fun as hoped, there is plenty of room to expand the collection to include a matched pair of the heavy bruiser ship packs with 1st rates and escorts, and maybe an inshore squadron for that sweet bomb raft addition.
ASN MSP3 - Privateers and Barbary Corsairs

ASN MSP4 - American 1814

These were a nightmare to put together and involved a considerable amount of superglue, stripped skin, and sweaty brows.  And I'm really looking forward to ordering more of them.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Finished Figs

 Just a couple quick shots of some quick paint jobs today.  My 15mm fantasy adventures needed some Bowman at home in the woods.  These DemonWorld figures have amazing detail for the scale. Best of all, you can order them individually.

And what the heck the XCOM fan in me has wanted snake man like this for a long time. No real plans for these figures, but they are fun to paint and make a useful addition to any sci-fi collection.  One squad of Critical Mass Astagar figures makes a good faction or good unit to add to any kind of xenos Empire faction.