Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Desert War Mega Project

It has been a log time since my last post. I have been very active with the hobby but have not been good about documenting my journey. I have thought about posting a lot and been a bit paralyzed lately because I was not sure where to start. In the end, I might as well start with my most recent project and the one I am currently excited about.

I have always had an interest in the Desert War WW2. I like tanks and the desert is tank country. I have been reading about the campaign and watching documentaries to fire my imagination for recreating the scenes and battles of the conflict. I have chosen Sam Mustafa’s "Rommel"
as my rules for the game. These rules are divisional in scale and allow the refighting of the battles at this large scale. There are 12 scenarios available covering the period and I have used these as a basis for building my forces. The rules require two or more players as there is a lot of bluffing involved, so solo play will be a challenge, if not impossible. I will review the rules at a later date. I was able to play them at last years Huzzah to try them out.

I have made excellent use of my 3d printers to build my forces. I am playing the game in 15mm as this is the scale of the bulk of my WWII toys (I also have 28mm, but this would not be good for a mass battle scale game). As I have been in lockdown for 3 months now, I have been able to focus on a lot of painting and preparing for games but no gaming.
Panzer IIIs
DAK so far

DAK infantry from Battlefront

I went through the list of scenarios and this provided my list of needed troops for the campaign. I have been printing and painting Desert War tanks for a while without focus, so I had a good pool of models to get started. With a 3d printer, the tanks, trucks and guns are penny’s a model so I was able to indulge my megalomania and build lots of goodies. The problem will come when I need to paint them all up. Luckily, I have painted lots of test models and have a reasonably fast and attractive process.
Italians 100% 3d printed

The missing element of my plan has been infantry. There are not many historical 3d printable infantry out there but I did find a good selection of Italian infantry for a mere $20. That $20 and the cost of materials allowed me to print 150 troops to meet my needs for Italians. They were made for 28mm but I was able to rescale them to 15mm. I was also able to do head swaps digitally to build Bersagliari troops as well as regular infantry.
British armor and guns

I went to my FLGS and bought up British 8th army, DAK and British Indian troops from the Battlefront  line to complete my infantry needs.

At this point my printing is wrapped up, now to paint and build some terrain.

I am planning to use my desert hex map for the games. The scenarios require an 8x12 hex map with each hex being a km across.

Building three armies for WWII during the COVID isolation has been helpful for me. I need an outlet for my creativity and mental energy that I cannot get with gaming these days. I am looking forward to finding a willing opponent and playing out the campaign with a live opponent in the very near future!

Sunday, 15 December 2019


The Battle of Austerlitz

This game was hosted at a local community hall and was very well attended by friends old and new. We had 10 players rotating in and out through out the day. This was the inaugural battle for my newly minted 10’x6’ teddy bear battle mat.

Napoleon had declared himself Emperor and the armies of the X Coalition were marching on the upstart Emperor. Napoleon had struck first and crushed the inept Austrian general Mack at Ulm. The Russian joined with the remaining Austrians and joined battle at Austerlitz…
Initiative marker and winners trophy

French left

 Russian center
 Strong Allied left
 Allied Deployment

 Allied Cavalry reserve arrives

Napoleon’s command was divided between 4 players. Right center and left with an overall commander. I was able to umpire the game. The Allies were divided up similarly with one player assigned as Kutosov/Alexander. The Allies had to roll every turn to see if Alexander took over command of the army with his drastically reduced command range (it’s good to be the Czar you know). The French developed a dynamic plan and the Allies seemed happy to stay on the Pratzen Heights and were slow to react.

The French left a screening force on their right and marched everything toward the unoccupied center/right of the Allied line. The French successfully occupied a town at the foot of the Pratzen Heights and used this has a base to form up and advance, splitting the Allies in two. Allied reinforcements arrive too late to prevent this and the French superior command and troop quality rolled up the unresponsive Russians holding the Heights.
We did not get to complete the game but all agreed the French were in a very good position to repeat history and decisively defeat the Allies.

This was a fun game but also a learning game for many of the players. We agreed to have another game soon to cement the learning of the rules in the players minds. The French Napoleon knew the rules the best and also brought an excellent plan to the table and it went to plan. Next up Auerstadt.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Prodigal Son Returns

I have decided to return to the blog after a long hiatus. Part of the problem is staying motivated and part of the problem is occasionally being locked out of the blog by Google. I have been enjoying the hobby as much as ever but not documenting it beyond my FB posts to gaming groups. I started the blog for me to enjoy looking back at my tabletop fun in later years and to share with this community of fellow gamers.

I think it has been over six months since my last post. My wargaming interests have meandered as usual but with a definite bend towards fantasy gaming. I purchased a 3D printer for Father’s Day in June. This has been an amazing new hobby to explore and I have been printing and painting from this device for the past 6 months.

I started playing through the campaigns of the Grande Armee 1805-1807 using my 15mm figures and Napoleon Battles rules. I built a giant teddy bear fur game mat that really adds to the look of these games. I think I will start my return to the blog by recounting these games.

The scenarios available were Austerlitz 1805, Auerstadt 1806, Eylau 1807 and Friedland 1807. At the time of writing this, the first three games are under my belt and planning is underway for a big get together to wrap up the campaign in January 2020.

I have decided to return to Napoleon’s Battles (NB) as a rules choice after experimenting with others such as Command and Colors: Napoleonics and Commit the Garde. NB was my first introduction to historical gaming and holds a special place in my game brain for many reasons.

1) It gives and excellent feel for the period in that the game looks like a big sweeping battle of the period.
2) It has a lot of granularity which I like with both sides of the fight involved through out the game.
3) There are no hexes to distract from the look of the battlefield.
4) All my thousands of figures are based for NB.
5) It is an excellent multiplayer game
6) I love the command and control system

The big downside is that the games take a long time to play. I would say a big battle would take 15-20 hours to complete to a decisive decision. I have had to except this and adapt to this limitation. We plan for long games and then conclude the game with a speculation of how the battle would be completed if it were played out.
I won’t drone on any more for this post and will follow up with write ups for the battles in the campaign.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Memory Lane

Our gaming group long on hiatus has had it's Yahoo Group platform slated for elimination. The group was very active for many years and there was a treasue trove of pictures of our gaming adventures on the sight, soon to be lost to the digital ether. I quickly went to the archive and downloaded a large sample for preservation. Below are a sampling of the pictures of the many projects the old group put together...

15mm WW2 Desert War with Command Decision

Franco Prussian War with Mike's beautiful figures and terrain. Rest in Peace Mike.

Colonial period on a 20x 6 table

28mm Nappys on 20x6 table
Waterloo, Raab and Aspern Essling in 15mm


ECW 28mm

AWI in 40mm

This group was my first meaningful social connection when I moved from the West Coast to the East. Many happy memories and still gaming with many of the members

Group Logo