Category Archives: Historicals

Historical and quasi-historical gaming of various sorts. English Civil War and Thirty Years War, the Great War (World War One), the Russian Civil War and other interwar conflicts, and whatever else we wander into!

Links of Interest, 26 April 2015

A few links to get us through the weekend!

I have a moderate font-collecting addiction. Dafont is my go-to source of high quality free fonts, but I’ll pay money for the right font. Remington Typewriter is probably one of the right fonts, and it’s very inexpensive over at DtRPG for four weights, depending on how short of ink you want your typewritten text to look. Great for player handouts, props, or other documents for pulp gaming or anything WW1/WW2/early 20th C!

Dinosaurs are always pulpy, and now Antediluvian Miniatures are doing some models based on the really early concepts of what dinosaurs were thought to look like. No fast, sleek, feathered raptors here, these are big chunky cold-blooded alligator-y critters, and they look great.

Having wandered into playing Infinity a few months back, I’ve started finding and following Infinity-related blogs. Bleached Models has some good stuff, including this really nicely illustrated tutorial on blending and layering colour.

Ending on a Russian Civil War related note, the Russian-language page AviArmour has a page about the Armstrong-Whitworth armoured car with some interesting text (in Russian, but Google Translate will give you the basic idea) and some great period photos of Armstrong-Whitworths in action. Would have been nice to find that page while I was working on my own 28mm A-W from Copplestone a couple of years ago! Lots of interesting information on AviArmour, it’s well worth a browse.

Martin’s Photos From Trumpeter Salute

My own photos from the Trumpeter Salute show over in Vancouver at the end of March are still unsorted and unedited, but Martin has gotten his photos uploaded to Flickr, so I’ll happily show them off until I get my own photos sorted out!

He’s got all of his Trumpter Salute 2015 photos in an album, if you want to see all 45 from the weekend.

We did Russian Civil War + Zombies using the All Things Zombies rules on Friday evening, but Martin didn’t have his camera with him. I’ve got some photos of that session – running over zombies with a light tank was a lot of fun…

We did modern air warfare Saturday morning and afternoon, using Martin’s great papercraft jet fighter models.

Air War C:21 - Top Gun

Air War C:21 - Gulf of Sidra Incident

Air War C:21 - Gulf of Sidra Incident

Saturday evening was my Russian Civil War game using Chain of Command/Mud & Blood rules. Four players total, two Red & two White, each side running a platoon plus supporting troops. It ended in a narrow Red victory but was close several times!

Chain of Command - Comrades & Cossacks

Chain of Command - Comrades & Cossacks

Sunday I played in a LEGO Junkyard Race which was a ton of fun; Martin was able to get into Thomas’ spectacular Battle of Kursk WW2 game, with an amazing table filled with great models.

Battlegroup Kursk - First Charge at Hill 252.2

Battlegroup Kursk - First Charge at Hill 252.2

I’ll get my own Trumpeter Salute photos sorted out over the next couple of days and posted here!

Links of Interest, 25 March 2015

Yet another post of short links, news, random bits, and oddments that wouldn’t warrant a full post.

Laser-cut MDF for early motor vehicles? They look pretty good, actually, and they’re 1/3 the price of resin & pewter vehicles. I might have to make an order to Warbases sometime to expand my pulp/RCW/WW1 vehicle fleet some more!

Via the always-excellent Airminded (who describe it pithily as “the fine print”), this great Australian recruiting poster from the Imperial War Museums online archive.

All Eligible Men...
All Eligible Men…© IWM (Art.IWM PST 12220)

The Battle of Mons: The Official German Account
From the blurb: This book is a translation of the German official history of the Battle of Mons, which took place between the German and British armies in August 1914. It covers the lead up to the battle, details of the fighting that took place, and the immediate follow-up from a German perspective. Early WW1 isn’t my particular area of interest, but well translated sources from the German side of World War One are rare enough to make this especially interesting regardless!

Eureka’s Tachanka, Part Two

The Eureka tachanka itself (the wagon, that is) comes together fairly easily with a bit of patience and some test fitting. The main body is a single piece, which I had to bend very slightly to straighten as the back end had been pushed very slightly downward during shipping. The rear springs and axle are three simple pieces; the front piece has the bar the horses are harnessed to, then two springs, then a front axle.

tachanka
The tachanka itself upside down on the right; the horses mounted and puttied into place on the base to the left. Crew figures int he foreground, along with the Maxim MG. Click for larger, as always.

I glued the whole thing together in one shot, wheels and all, and now that I’m painting it I find myself wishing I’d left the wheels off to make the undercarriage slightly easier to paint. On the other hand, getting the fenders on either side into place and symmetrical is easier when you have the wheels already solidly in place for reference, so it’s one of those “on the one hand/other hand” sorts of things. I can always slop mud around on the underside to hide any minor painting glitches, after all…

The base the whole thing will sit on is a strip of .040″ styrene plastic card, reinforced with Milliput epoxy putty, especially around the horses’ integral bases. I also ran a ridge of putty down the centre of the card base to stiffen it, with some slivers of scrap card under that just to give the putty something to hang on to. The base is just barely big enough to hold the wheels of the tachanka and the horses, but similar minimal “shadow” bases have worked to protect the relatively delicate wheels of other pewter/resin vehicles in my collection for several years now.

The tachanka is getting a dark green basecoat, similar to the paint scheme on the earlier armoured car. I’ve gone with blue trim, either a remnant of civilian finery (a lot of tachankas were lightly converted civilian carriages) or a bit of regimental pride coming through. I’ll leave all three crew in generic Russian khaki so they can be used by either side in my RCW games; I might eventually rig a flag holder somewhere on the thing for it to show off which side it’s fighting for today!

tachanka2
Such basecoating! Horses, tachanka and crew all basecoated, as well as heroic Russian officer dude on his horse behind – also a Eureka figure. Click for larger, as always.

I’m trying to get the tachanka ready for Trumpeter Salute in Vancouver which starts this Friday, so time is pressing and I’m speedpainting like crazy, and feeling rusty because I really haven’t painted much at all in the last eight months or so! At some point I also need to come up with some basic rules for running the silly thing in Chain of Command, but that might be left for the ferry ride over to Vancouver Friday afternoon…

To Delay Is Dangerous

Via the US Library of Congress, this fantastic simple British recruiting poster from 1915.

delay
…To Delay Is Dangerous…

Really fantastic handdrawn typography and an eye for proportions. A classic of the type.

The whole Library of Congress WW1 Poster Collection is fantastic and well worth a browse. WW1 and post-WW1 posters from all over the world, not just the English-speaking world. Even better, copyright has long expired on almost all of these items across most of the world, so you can re-use them for your own purposes if you like.

The Assault on St. Vodkanovich Monastery

Last Sunday (15 March) got us another bash at using Chain of Command/Mud & Blood (I’ve taken to calling it “Chain of Mud”) for Russian Civil War adventures. I umpired the game for Mike, who has played RCW previously a number of times and once with the current Chain of Mud rules, and his brother Stewart, who was visiting from Vancouver and had heard interesting things about my RCW games and wanted to try it out.

We had a scratch White force of a short platoon of White Rifles (three sections), supported by two small troops (Teams) of Cossack cavalry and an armoured car attacking a hamlet around a small walled monastery defended by two sections of Red militia backed up by a single section of Red Guard and a single Team of especially enthusiastic local Reds lead by one of the Red Guard leaders.

It was a good game that saw the White rifles driven off by Red rifle fire before the Cossacks and the armoured car finally rout the Reds in a really, really tight game that saw both players convinced it was all over for them several times.

monastery
Late in the game, the White armoured car (lower left) brings its machineguns to bear on the walled monastery compound defended by Red Guard.

I realized afterward that I’d gotten the Force Morale tests wrong in the heat of the moment, so the Whites missed two tests that would almost certainly have damaged their Force Morale and could have cost them the game.

I’m really starting to enjoy the Patrol Phase of the game and the use of Jump-Off Points. The tactics of the Patrol Phase, once new players catch on, can be almost as fascinating as the main game itself, with the limits on movement imposed on the Patrol Markers and the conflicting desires to set up good JoPs for yourself and also deny the enemy good JoP positions. This was the first game we’ve played where one Jump-off Point marker wound up right on the table edge, nearly halfway up one long side of the table, which gave the Whites a flanking position on the whole hamlet that gave the Reds quite a lot of trouble in the first half of the game.

I’ll be running an expanded and tweaked version of this scenario at Trumpeter Salute in Vancouver in a couple of weeks; I might swap the ordinary Red Guard out for a section or two of Red Sailors, just because they’re such a colourful set of figures to put on the table! With a bit of postal luck I might also have a tchanka from Eureka Minis to add to the fun!

More RCW Patrol Markers In Progress

I’ve been working on a couple of additions to my earlier collection of markers for Chain of Command-powered Russian Civil War.

As I was finishing up that first set I realized that I was pretty close to actually having a full set of markers for everything that happened in and around (western) Russia between 1914 and 1921 or so, with German, Imperial Russian, Red, and White markers. All I was missing was the Poles for the Russo-Polish War and the Austro-Hungarians for their front against the Russians in WW1.

thing
Polish and Austro-Hungarian markers (in draft form) for expanded Eastern Front/Russian theatre action.

The Polish eagle works nicely as a symbol, with red and white from the Polish flag in the background. The Austro-Hungarian symbol, like that Empire itself, is a bit of a colourful mess which incorporates a circular slice from the A-H Imperial Flag.

After I put the original markers up on Lead Adventure one of the other members posted some splendid but rough versions of his visions for alternate and extra markers. I especially liked his alternate Red marker, which used the hammer-and-plough symbol of the very early Russian Revolution, before widespread adoption of the hammer-and-sickle. I can easily see why the plough lost out to the sickle, it’s a difficult thing to draw well and tends to turn into a lumpy blob at the best of times!

Nevertheless, I sat down with Inkscape last night and finally produced a hammer-and-plough I’m happy with. Here’s an oversized version.

plough
The hammer-and-plough, as used early in the Russian Revolution by the Bolsheviks.

I’ve got a few more ideas for additional markers, and I’d like to add markers for the various international intervention forces (Britain, France, the Americans, maybe even Japan), especially as doing the intervention forces would pretty much also finish the Western Front marker set I’ve been considering making!

RCW Patrol Markers for Chain of Command

In the run-up to this weekend’s GottaCon convention, I’ve finally gotten around to finishing the patrol markers I need to properly run Chain of Command-powered Russian Civil War games.

I’d done status markers back in January, and now I’ve got a set of the Patrol and Jump Off Point markers you need for each side in Chain of Command.

markers
Imperial Russia, White Russian, Red Russian and German markers – see below for PDF link.

Even better, I’ve done up German and Imperial Russian markers as well as White Russian and Red (Bolshevik) markers, so Eastern Front World War One is covered as well as the RCW. The Russian markers are based on the roundel used by the Imperial Air Force; the White marker is the Russian tricolour defaced with an Orthodox cross; the Reds get a yellow star on red background; and the Germans get the classic cross on a feldgrau background.

RCW/Eastern Front Patrol & JoP Markers for Chain of Command – PDF, 5 pages, 40Kb

Note that I included the previously-released CoC tactical markers as well, just to put the complete set of markers into one PDF.

Permission is granted to print & copy this file for personal use only. Chain of Command is © TooFatLardies, obviously.

Enjoy the markers! Feedback, suggestions or corrections in the comments below, please! Let me know if you actually use these things!

My Chain of Command Tactical Markers

Recently we’ve tried out TooFatLardie‘s Chain of Command/Through the Mud & the Blood hybrid rules with my Russian Civil War figures, and found them good, although with a bit of a learning curve.

Chain has a few persistent conditions or stances that can apply to troops for multiple Phases, either voluntarily (Overwatch, the Tactical stance and some others) or involuntarily (Pinned and Broken, mostly). There are Chain markers available for download over on the TFL Yahoo Files site but they’re WW2-specific (Allied vs German) and I also wanted markers with a bit of a period feel that matched a set of status markers I did a while back for M&B games and some of the other graphical stuff I’ve produced over the years.

So I did what I usually do, which is break out Inkscape, pour myself a drink, and spend an hour or two noodling away.

The resulting PDF has a full set of standard markers for Chain games, with or without a WW1-flavoured M&B infusion, and might also be of interest to anyone using Chain for Very British Civil War alternate-1930s games. They’re colourful, large enough to handle, but not large enough (I think, anyway) to really disrupt the game visually.

Both PDFs are single pages and tiny, 9.4Kb each. Permission is granted to copy or print these files for personal use only.

Letter size for those of us used to that size of paper:
CoC_markers_letter

A4 for the rest of the world who use rational systems for their paper sizes:
CoC_markers_A4

Feedback welcome, as always!

I’m working up a batch of Patrol & Jump-off Point markers for Chain/M&B World War One and Russian Civil War action, planning on a multi-page PDF with markers for all of the major combatants. That should be out soon, hopefully next week.

Russian Civil War with Chain of Command

We had a quick and messy intro to the TooFatLardies’ Chain of Command/Through the Mud and the Blood WW1 hybrid today with my Russian Civil War figures. Chain is originally a WW2 platoon-level set of rules with some of the core rules based on the WW1 Mud & Blood rules we have been playing for several years, and in the December 2014 Christmas Special the Lardies closed the circle and provided an adaptation of Chain for the Great War, pulling rules out of M&B as needed to replace or supplement the basic Chain rules.

Our forces were as follows:
One short platoon of Bolshie Reds – four rifle sections of 7-10 men each, two Senior Leaders – who rolled hot for their Force Morale which was at 11 to start!

One short platoon of Whites, two Senior Leaders, three rifle sections of 7-10 men, 1 Maxim MMG with four crew, not as into this whole Civil War thing as the Reds with a Force Morale of only 8.

I hadn’t actually sat down to figure out the exact force balance on this particular force mix (TFL provide tools to do that, though) and we ignored the Support Points rules today and just ran with these basic forces, but it got us a good tight game with lots of back-and-forth until the White’s Force Morale collapsed to 0, so I think I was more or less right. Almost certainly too many Senior Leaders for either side at most stages of the RCW, but for an intro game I’m not fussed.

The first third of the game was all in the White’s favour; their Maxim deployed to fire down the village street and blotted out one Red rifle section single-handed, while two of the White rifle sections shot up, Pinned, and then close assaulted a Red rifle section that had pushed across main street and hunkered down in one of the hamlet’s houses but was isolated from any Red support.

The Whites had a string of dead Junior Leaders which pummelled their force morale, though, and pinned their Senior Leaders down acting as section commanders. The breaking point came when one White rifle section and the platoon Lt. launched a singledhanded close assault through the rear door of a house with a basically unsuppressed Red rifle section in it and got bashed all to hell, killing not a single Red and being thrown out into the open ground where irritated Reds quickly Pinned and then Routed them with close range rifle fire, killing the Lt in the process and routing the Whites with a FM of zero…

I’m absolutely certain we did a couple of things wrong, I know we missed rules and in some cases deliberately ignored them, but it was a good quick game and a great intro to CoC.

The Patrol Phase & Jump-Off Points are great, the Patrol Phase is much tenser and more tactical than the opening few moves of most games are, and JoPs mean less random wandering around the tabletop and more direct action!

The Command Dice mechanic isn’t as flavourful as M&B’s cards, but it’s quick and interesting, and often forces you to make difficult choices as to who to activate when. The actual Chain of Command Dice mechanic is also interesting but we didn’t use it much except to end the Turn and once to avoid a Force Morale check – there are more options for using Command Dice that we didn’t explore in this game.

I really like the fact that Chain has a Force Morale setup; sometimes in M&B it felt like you could feed men endlessly into the storm with just a bit of luck on clearing Suppression until everyone was dead. Not happening in Chain!

The actions/activations setup has been both clarified and expanded in Chain over M&B. Movement and fire, suppressive fire, and overwatch are all improved from M&B. The vehicle rules have had some expansion and clarification as well, especially with regards to Shock and vehicle morale.

For larger games, especially at conventions where I want to have two-four players per side I’ll probably stick with straight M&B, but for smaller games Chain/M&B (should we call it “Chain of Mud”?) is probably going to become my go-to system. I’m looking forward to more games and to getting to know the rules better!