Thursday, December 15, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo

At the last club meeting I ran my Battle of Riachuelo scenario.  It went very well.  I started the scenario after the historic initial pass of the Paraguayan fleet by the Brazilian fleet.  In this historic scenario the Brazilians were setup moving down stream towards the anchored Paraguayans.

  • Iron and Fire by David Manley
  • 1:1200 ships by Pithead Miniatures/Spithead Miniatures
  • 2mm guns by Irregular Miniatures
  • Beige Vynl fabric for river
  • Green fleece
  • Woodland Scenics Bushes Clump-Foliage, Medium Green, 32oz
I thought I would run the game with four players, but it ended up running with six players with no issues.  I kept the terrain simple because I have no room to store a custom Riachuelo board and I just don't rerun the same scenario more than a couple times.  I used an orange kids washable marker to outline on the river the areas of shallows.  Below are photos from the game.

Photo 1: Initial deployment.  Paraguayans anchored at bottom.  Brazilian ships in line moving towards Paraguayans.  Two more Brazilians ships to enter.
Photo 2: Brazilian ships in line.  Note line showing extent of shallows on starboard of ships.
Photo 3: Paraguayan field battery provides support from shore.
Photo 4: Paraguayans decide to raise anchor and move towards Brazilians.
Photo 5: Ships from both sides are now getting in close.
Photo 6:  River is filled with smoke from the battle.  The Paraguayan flagship has rammed a Brazilian ship and captured the ship as their own ship sinks.
Photo 7: Last photo showing the second last turn in the game.  Not much changed in the last turn.
I called the game after four hours of game play.  Unfortunately the Paraguayans could not change the historical outcome.  The results were identical to history.  All Chatas (towed boats) and four ships on the Paraguayan side were sunk.  One Brazilian ship was sunk, but the Paraguayan Admiral was captured.  I did not tell either side what the victory conditions were.  The Paraguayans would have won if they did better than historically (lose less ships and/or sink more ships).
I recommend this scenario.  It is a good unknown or barely known battle.  The models are great and the rules went very smoothly, although I did forget about the possible effect of rolling a one on gunfire.  If I run the game again, I will start the battle further up river where the two sides first met.  Maybe we could see how the Paraguayans would do by not heading downstream and anchoring.
Rules wise, the rule about being easier to hit if stationary, maybe this rule could be dropped because the Paraguayans are at a disadvantage anchored.
A future post, I will share resources for you to use for building this scenario or just for reading.
Other posts on Battle of Riachuelo:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

War of 1812: Winter British

The next set of painted up 28mm Knuckleduster Miniatures are the British winter soldiers and officers.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Veterans Wars 2016

This month was our clubs annual Veterans Wars convention.  Here are some pictures from the convention.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo Preview

A photo of some playtesting of the Battle of Riachuelo naval battle.  Kind of a mess, but want to share where I am at with the scenario.  I'll be using the Iron and Fire rules by David Manley.

Shore guns will be different.  Maybe some other improvements.  Also, you probably can't see it, but I have drawn in the shallows boundary using washable marker.

Previous posts related to the battle:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Not the Hobby Norm

All of us in the Historical Miniature Wargaming hobby do things collectively that fits in the norm of our hobby.  Opposite of this we do some things that are outside the norm.  I can easily spot these in me.  I figure I would share some of these.

What is a norm?  I look at social norms.  An example of a social norm that I belong to is I shake a persons hand when I first meet them.   Alternatively, another social norm is everyone owns a cell phone in North America.  Well, I do not belong to that norm; I do not own a cell phone.  Our hobby has some key norms, like we paint our miniatures before running a game at a convention.  I can't imagine unpainted miniatures at a convention (i.e. Salute).  Maybe there are gamers out there that never paint their miniatures.

How did I determine what some of the hobby norms are?  I have been seriously in the hobby for 20 years now and I have read a lot of the polls on the TMP web site.

Here are some of my outside the hobby norm traits (more maybe added later):

  1. Paint miniatures with enamels
    • Norm: paint miniatures with acrylics
    • Virtually the whole hobby from books, magazines, online discussions, video tutorials, and hobby stores focus on acrylics.  I started with enamel (Humbrol) paints when I was a kid painting model kits.  I know how to work with them and have stuck with them.  Maybe someday I'll go to acrylics, but I'm happy with the paint.
  2. Bases not all the same.
    • Norm: All bases for a unit or army look the same
    • In the case of stands in base to base contact for certain periods/rules (i.e. regiment in ACW) then I can see the stands all being the same.  But, for the whole army to have the same grit/ground and grass tufts...not my thing.  For example my WWII bases I try to make them all different because the stands are all over the battlefield going through different terrain (corn field, swamp, forest, road, etc).  At least make different groups/units of bases different.
  3. Not painting basing material
    • Norm: paint the basing material with multiple colours.
    • The standard method of basing miniatures is to glue down your material on the base, then layer various paint colours to make the ground look like ground.  I glue down my basing material and that's it.  My grey rock glued down is happy not to be painted over with various shades of grey.  Who knows, maybe I'll change my technique in the future and I'm not hearing any complaints about my bases.  Even if I did, I don't know if I'd change.
  4. Historic battles
    • Norm: fictitious battles
    • Most games are presented as fictitious battles set in a historic war or part of a historic battle.  I am the opposite, I focus more on actual historic battles.  I enjoy the research and laying out the actual battlefield.  Nothing against the fictitious approach, just my preference.
  5. Obscure battles and wars
    • Norm: game common battles and wars
    • Why would I want to paint up and put on a battle that someone has already done and/or I've played in?  I get more interested in a battle I have not seen someone done or is rare.  I guess one example is Korean War.
I'm not saying being in the hobby norm is a bad thing, I just thought it would be interesting to see how some things we do are actually outside the norm.  Maybe I should write a post about my hobby norms, but maybe that would be too boring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo OOB

Due to requests for Battle of Riachuelo Order of Battle, I am posting the listing of ships below.  This list and spelling is from Warships at the Battle of Riachuelo, by William Eugene Warner.  The list is in no particular order.  Letter or Number in brackets refers to matching ship models from Pithead Miniatures.  An example of the Pithead letters/numbers is Brazilian Belmonte and Parnahyba are the same ship model.

  • Tacuari (A)
  • Paraguarí (B)
  • Igurey (C)
  • Ypora (D)
  • Marquez de Olinda (E)
  • Jejui (F)
  • Pirabebe (G)
  • Salto Oriental (H)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 68pdr (J)
  • Chata, 80pdr (J)
  • Chata, 80pdr (J)
  • Ibera (I)
  • 22 field guns on the cliffs of Santa Caterina
  • Army sharpshooters on the cliffs of Rincon de Lagraña
  • Amazonas (1)
  • Belmonte (2)
  • Parnahyba (2)
  • Jequitinhonha (3)
  • Beberibe (3)
  • Araguari (4)
  • Iguatemi (4)
  • Mearim (5)
  • Ypiranga (6)

Battle of Riachuelo: Brazilian Ships

I have finished the Brazilian ships now for the Battle of Riachuelo.  These are 1:1200 scale ships from Pithead Miniatures.  They were fun to assemble, paint and base.  The only problem with them was all the bowsprits were broken.  I had to use whatever tools I had a around to remove them and then replace them with brass wire.  Not a problem, I had everything I needed to fix that.

Now I have to work on the river layout and try out rules.  The plan is to use Iron and Fire by Dave Manley.  I have used the rules before for ACW naval.

Blog post on Paraguay Ships: Link

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tacticon 2016: The Bad

As mentioned in my previous post about Tacticon, I decided to split the Tacticon convention review into two.  Every gaming convention has it's issues, but something is just not working at Genghis Con and Tacticon.  There are less and less historical miniature games.  There are lots of local historical miniature gamers that can put on games and attend, but the list of complaints continues to grow.  Also, I know there are lots of serious boardgamers in Colorado, but don't attend.

Looking back at Tacticon 2000 (at Denver Marriott Southeast) historical miniature games, there were three tournaments and 19 other games.  This was my first Tacticon I attended.  Sixteen years later there were two tournaments and maybe a half dozen other games.

Saturday morning around 10am.
Here are some negative observations from Tacticon 2016:
  • The Tacticon/Genghis Con web site(s) either provide barely any useful information or force you to go through a maze to get at what you are looking for.  Guess what, a simple PDF of events listed by game type then date/time on the main convention page is all you need.  This PDF could be auto replaced with any updates daily.
  • This year, only one historical miniature game was put on Saturday morning and then Saturday afternoon.  This is terrible.  I have been attending Tacticon and Genghis Con for 16 years, and this is the worst yet.  Yes, I can blame fellow gamers for not supporting these local conventions, but I understand their gripes.  I struggled to get my game host this year.
  • Lack of communication with regards to those of us wanting to run a game was bad.  Every effort should be made to get games.  The more games put on, the more interest gamers will be in attending.
  • Two conventions in a row there was a scramble to located chairs for games.  What?  Do I have to bring my own folding chairs for my game?  Don't blame the hotel, if the hotel can not guarantee chairs then do not book that hotel.  This was a different hotel from the last convention.
  • I requested a 5' x 6' table setup.  Once again, just like chairs, had to make due with a 4' x 6' table.  I chose to not make an issue about it, but when I submitted by game, someone could have told me that all the tables were setup to a maximum width of 4'.
  • Why should a gamer who is only putting on one game and not playing in anything during the convention have to pay full attendance minus only $5?
  • No convention booklet.
  • No map of where all the different areas (RPG, Miniatures, Dealer room, etc.) are located at the hotel.
  • The paper list of events/games at the convention was only sorted by time.  It would have been better organized by event type then time.  Course, stacks of paper conventions booklets with useful information in them like was done in the past would have worked just fine.
  • Historical miniature gaming received low support by the convention organizers.  Cosplay, computer gaming and tournaments received support.  I don't know how I feel about the convention paying for Cosplayers around the U.S. to fly in.
  • Tournament events were posted fast on the event listing before the convention started.  Those of us running a single miniature game did not show up until after the deadline for submissions had passed.
  • Does anyone in the dealer room make any money?  I guess if they come back then it was worth their while.  Generally no one thinks the dealer room is any good.
Tacticon is always a low attended event, maybe because of the date, although I think most people do not attend due to entrance costs.  There was plenty of space for more to run games.  I hope to continue to attend and support the convention because I want to promote the hobby and bring awareness of our gaming club Colorado Military Historians.  Having been to BGG Con in Dallas and Fall In in Gettysburg, I am disappointed to not see more boardgamers and historical gamers attend.  The dealer room content at these conventions are amazing as well.  The Genghis Con and Tacticon organizers need to reach out and work with local clubs.  Even though I don't play train games, I also miss seeing the Puffing Billy room.

I welcome any feedback (even rebuttals) to my thoughts.

Tacticon 2016: The Good

I have mixed feelings about Tacticon this year.  This year I attended Saturday morning and afternoon.  I've decided to create two posts about the convention, one positive (this one) and one negative (link to post).  Overall it was good, but there were issues.  At some point, it would not surprise me if both Genghis Con and Tacticon will not have any non-tournament historical miniature games. 

Miniature/Boardgaming room (Saturday morning)
Here are the good points:
  • Convention space was good.  The lighting was good in the miniature room.  I heard the food on site was good.
  • Parking was not an issue.
  • Plenty of offsite food options nearby.
  • There was lots of space around the tables and extra tables were available.
  • I had a full game with a couple extra players wanting to join in.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.
  • The other miniature games seemed to be going well.  Warhammer 40K was strong as ever.  I think Warmachine did well too.

Boardgaming area
Computer gaming.  Was this area ever more than 50% attended?

My War of 1812 game before battle started.
 My game after the battle ended.
Russian Civil War 15mm, Square Bashing rules.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Admiral: Roaring Currents Movie

I just finished watching The Admiral: Roaring Currents movie.  I'm sure I heard about this movie through the wargaming community somewhere and added it to my Netflix queue.  I recommend this movie.  The naval battle is great.  The movie leads up to the naval Battle of Myeongryang, 1597, between Korea and Japan, and then the rest of movie is the battle.  The lead up to the battle in the movie is not that exciting, but the battle part of the movie is action packed and looks real.  Lots of overacting and the director focuses too much on the faces of the actors, but as I said the movie is worth watching for the naval battle.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Battle of Riachuelo: Paraguay Ships

I finished painting and basing the 1:1200 Pithead Miniatures, Battle of Riachuelo Paraguay ships.  I decided to go with a muddy colour base as the Paraná River is a muddy colour.  Something different from the usual naval wargaming blue we naval gamers use.

Note the small ships are small boats/barges called Chatas.  These were built to only carry a 68pdr or 80pdr gun.  The Chatas had no propulsion, so had to be towed.

I chose to not do full ship lines or ratlines.  I figure at this scale just a representation is sufficient.  The areas on the ships where there are ship boats on the sides, I did not want to struggle fitting in the ratlines.  Who knows, maybe later I will.

Flash and non-flash photos below.  Shows how they look in different lighting.

Blog post on Brazilian ships: Link

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Military Museums of Calgary

Another interesting site I visited in Calgary last month was "The Military Museums."  It is an odd name for a military museum, but looked like a single museum to me and probably needs a different name in the future.  The museum has all the Canadian forces represented and was a great museum to visit.

Initially trying to get to the museum was a bit challenging since the nearest highway exit to the museum was under construction.  I spent two hours visiting in the morning and unfortunately I did not have enough time to really take it all in.  I recommend more time.  Maybe 3-4 hours.

The best parts of the museum are the regimental history sections and the naval section.  The weakest areas in my opinion are the gallery and air force.  Maybe I just had less interest in the current art on display and the aviation history (lots of model airplanes though).

There is an additional building that houses three airplanes: a F-86 Sabre, CF-18 and a CF-104.  Also, there is a tank park with a few WWII tanks.  It looks like the T-34 tank is a new one, which needs a new fresh paint job.

A disappointment for me was the gift shop, it was really lacking in all departments.  The best surprise was the naval section.  It was so much bigger than I was expecting, plus has had lots to look at.  Also, tucked away in a room was display cabinets of all the Canadian Army regimental uniforms of WWI (I think).  That was impressive.

I really enjoyed this museum and hope to visit it again in the future.  I recommend visiting this museum if you are in Calgary.  Don't be rushed like I was.  Give yourself enough time.

A lot of my photos show uniforms and model ships, I guess for reference at some point, but I tried to get a good variety of pictures.

Here are all the 46 pictures I took: Photos Link