Thursday, May 30, 2013

War of the Aristologian Succession: Year I

Having prepared over the last few weeks for our first fully-blown ImagiNation campaign, we gathered at RayCon on the windy shores of Lake Huron last weekend. Phil and Michael and I were looking forward to getting in a few games of Maurice and working our way through the first campaign season. The parameters of a Maurice campaign (as written) allow players (or camps) to fight one another until a certain threshold of Peace Points have been gained. At this point, the campaign season is over and peace is sued for or agreed upon. I prefer to think of it as a temporary cessation of hostilities for the winter months while all sides lick their wounds, recruit, train, and otherwise drink and whore in the taverns. Another campaigning season ensues (and perhaps others further on). When one player or camp reaches a predetermined level of Epic Points (or victory points, if you prefer), the campaign is won!

We've set our victory threshold at 20 Epic Points, hopefully giving us two or three solid campaign seasons. The weekend's gaming saw three games and an opportunity for all three of us to play one another once.
The Battle of Pimm's Crossroads saw the Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie fail miserably against the Ducato di Libagioni. This was Phil's first victory of the campaign and (I believe) only the second ever for his army. He was suitably pleased! The name of the battle comes, by the way, not from a place on a map (it is a mapless campaign) but from the delicious bowl of Pimm's and fruit Phil concocted. As you can see from the photos, we enjoyed the sun and the libations enormously (even though it was rather chilly outside at times).

The Battle of Rio Sangriento pitted Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie against a newcomer to the field, Ejercito Revolucionario Populista (Viento del Sur)...the Army of the South Wind (please don't ask). This is Michael's entry in the campaign but I'll let him speak more about it beyond this short bio: The Populist Revolutionary Army aims to liberate the masses of Europe from the clutches of the Burgeoise. Diametrically opposed to the capitalist aristocrats that rule the armies it faces, the members of the ERP welcome any and all deserters into their fold. The ERP are universally despised by the nations of Europe for its treatment of captured officers who are often used as shock troops against their own armies and their coin used as ammunition. This army is commanded by the enigmatic and mercurial Primo Generalissimo Francisco Largo Caballero (aka El Nino). The Grand Duke's army struggled to defeat these populist hordes but in the end prevailed! This battle also saw a duel before the armies even clashed. The Grand-Duke had been able to recruit to his army one Giovanni di Tripodi, a gifted administrator, whom the Grand Duke had slated to act as Chief of Staff to Le Marquis de Fromage. Alas, on the morn of his first battle with the army, it was his misfortune to find himself faced by the incensed father of a fulsome senorita with whom he had spent the evening playing whist. Di Tripodi was unceremoniously skewered and Le Marquis deprived of his expected services!
The Battle of Giornata Soleggiata, the third and final of the campaign season as it turned out, saw Phil's wine guzzlers take on Michael's plebeians. And as Phil mentioned in the previous post, a bloody battle it was. Much mayhem and destruction to be had but Michael came out on top with a marginal victory as darkness descended and neither army was willing to quit the field. This was our first game to have exhausted all three Maurice card decks.
At the conclusion of this series of battles, we determined whether peace would be sued for and so it was. Our armies went into winter quarters with the Epic Point totals thus:
Il Ducato di Libagioni - 7 EP
Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie - 5 EP
ERP - 3 EP
While in winter quarters, armies can spend Epic Points for a number of things like recruiting new units or attracting new nobles to the cause. Of course, by doing this the army's EP total is reduced and one is that much further from the winning goal. I chose to transfer two units of infantry out of my army and replace them with cavalry. We'll see how a higher proportion of horse can affect the battles.
And thanks to Vidal for adjudicating and offering Maurice advice over the weekend!
What's up next? Besides the next series of battles, I think Phil and I have some painting to do and maybe a map program to design our countries (even though it's not necessary for the campaign).

RayCon 2013

Many ImagiNation battles were fought last weekend.  Dave, Mike and myself each played a game against one another in the first campaigning season of our Succession War (the campaign system used in the Maurice ruleset).  In the end, all the games were thrilling and were absolute bloodbaths, shocking the other attendees of the gaming weekend with the sheer amount of figures being removed from the table.

The first season ended with the Ducato di Libagioni on top, followed by Le Grande-Duche de Gourmandie and then the Ejercito Revolucionaria Populista (AKA ERP).

To start things off, some pictures previously seen on the "Building 6mm Terrain in under 72 hours".  The game was quite fun, and ended with a victory for the noble capitalist pig-dogs.

Next was a great looking 20mm winter terrain game.  Winter gaming is something that you don't usually see all that much, and I hate to say it, most of the time, the terrain looks... ugly.  This, on the other hand, blew me away and I may be stealing quite a few ideas from Gord, the crazed owner of this project.  20mm to me might be a bit of a weird scale, but the oldschool wargamer within my young mind / body is trying to break free and start collecting this scale (no worries, I am a true believer in God's scale, 28mm.  GOD WILLS IT!)

An example of a conversion I am stealing in a heartbeat from Gord.  Trying to find a church in correct scale to go along with the rest of my Pegasus game "village" is a pain in the rear, so why not just make your own?

And now for some pictures from the first of many ImagiNation games of the weekend.  Using the correct scouting rolls and terrain placement yielded to even less terrain then normal.  I guess Dave and I used a bit too much terrain in the last few games we played.

Thank's for the read!  Watch for a future post from myself with some new goodies!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Building 6mm Terrain in under 72 hours, part three

Success! In the end, everything turned out well. The boards took a little beating on the trip up, but a little emergency flock fixed them up.

Rules used for this game are the fun and cheerful Cold War Commander and the two forces pitted against one another are Soviets and 'mericans.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Building 6mm Terrain Boards in under 72 hours, part deux

We did it! After a late night and early morning, Mike and I "completed" the nine boards. Some frantic last minute flocking ensued before we packed them away into the truck along with all of my ImagiNation stuff.

Part three will show off the boards on table and game.

I told Mike immediately after finishing the boards: "that was fun, lets never do this again".  Safe to say, next time we embark upon crafting terrain, we need to plan a little bit more time.

Off to the KHANNNNNN!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Building 6mm Terrain Boards in under 72 hours, Part 1

When Mike and I began working on this project, we had about three and a half days to get it done before this year's RayCon (Which I hope to be blogging about during the event itself).  If that is the case you, the readership of this blog, must be asking, then why does the title say less then 72 hours?  There is a quite simple explanation for this: 1.  being housemates, Mike and I have had to "deal" with having guest over this week and 2.  we discovered a computer game "Wargame: European Escalation"and have been playing a little to much of it.

The strange benefit of playing so much of Wargame: EE is that their maps are very detailed and perfect to use as templates for building terrain.

Mike wanted the initial batch of terrain boards to be useable from the Second World War and the Cold War and set in Europe.

Day 1 (Tuesday) :

Setting out around lunch time, we drove to various locations around Kingston picking up the supplies needed.  A discovery at our local arts supply store yielded the base on which we set out the build the boards.  For a very fair price, you can purchase wood painting panels, which just so happen to be perfect for terrain boards as they come in a variety of sizes and are all framed, no more fear of the dreaded MDF warp.

Mike begins by mapping everything out onto the wood.  He had pre-planned before hand, but lack of 2 foot by 2 foot panels forced him to change it up slightly.

A 1 foot by 1 foot terrain panel that Mike did up earlier this month as a tester.

By end of the first day of work we managed to cut out the rivers, glue stockcard on the bottom and use drywall compound (aka smegma) to create the rivers.  We also started work on the Autobahn panels.

Day 2 (Wednesday) :

Around lunchtime on Wednesday we got to work again, getting good work done on the Autobahn.  The day ended with a game of spaceships that was canceled by the horrible weather we have had in the evenings and nights.  Believing that the thunderstorm could be weathered out under our gazebo, Peter, Rob and Mike had a nasty surprise and were last seen dashing into the house with all forms of gaming stuff.

The unfortunate Peter falls asleep while Mike is working on the boards.

Day 3 (Thursday) :

It was really only until today that we realized that we really needed to kick things into top gear and crank out the remaining 60% percent of construction and 100% of the painting.

We set to work in the early afternoon and by working as efficiently as possible, we managed to get the entirety of the construction done around 7:30.

Adding the fields, dirt roads and base for the forests, we soldiered on.  Now we are forced to play the waiting game as the drywall compound and acrylic paint used to seal the foam dries.

The boards are really beginning to take shape.

The project begins to spread around the backyard.

Hopefully we can post up tomorrow in triumph, having stayed up into the wee hours finishing the boards.

WWII Surprise

Somewhat belated but this past Christmas provided a pleasant surprise from Daniel. In an apparent effort to rekindle my gaming mojo, he assembled and painted this great Warlord Games German 88mm gun to go with my early war Wermacht force. This is a fine model and Daniel, in his normal way, has made a damned fine model out of it. The detail is impressive, especially the shell casings scattered about the base. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Duchy of Libations

With much trepidation, I have decided to showcase some of my opponent's army, the Duchy of Libations (beware, however...they are a bunch of wine-quaffing reprobates...probably why I like them so much). So, some pics of Phil's growing army below. If you want to see more, check out his blog: It's History, There's No Hurry.

 Cacciatore de Galliano
 Primo Battaglione della Guardia della città di Campari
 Primo Battaglione di Reggimento di Fanteria di Sambuca
 town militia
 Truppa della marina di Frangelico
 What army is complete without a wine cart?

And a wine guard?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Full Might of Le Grand-Duché de Gourmandie...quake with fear!!

Preparing for Raycon in a few weeks and the start of our new Maurice campaign, I have asembled the full might of Le Grand-Duché de Gourmandie. A couple of new units have joined the host and another has been filled out. The army now consists of five full battalions of infantry, five squadrons of cavalry, two battalion guns, and a battalion of chasseurs (irregular infantry).

Régiment d’Infanterie Roquefort (2 battlaions)
Régiment d’Infanterie Pont l’Eveque (1 battalion)
Grenadiers de Camembert (1 battalion)
Regiment der Grenadiere Oettinger (1 battalion)
Grenadiers à Cheval Boursin (3 squadrons)
Régiment de Dragons Saint-Feliciens (1 squadron)
Régiment de Dragons Saint-Nectaire (1 squadron)
Chasseurs de Chevrotin (1 battalion)

Note: My apologies for the photo quality below. They look great on the iPad but when transferred to Blogger they lose considerable quality. Hmmmm....

 The combined might of the Grand Duchy, led by the Marquis de Fromage (front, right).
Five battalions of infantry (from front to rear): Roquefort (2 battalions), Pont l'Eveque (1 battalion, newly filled out to full-strength), Camembert (1 battalion in very fetching mauve/purple), Oettinger (used notmally as the mercenary force when on the attack).

The cavalry wing: (front to rear) Dragons de Saint-Feliciens (one squadron), Dragons de Saint-Nectaire (one squadron), Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin (three squadrons).

For those interested, the regulated army establishment of Le Grand-Duché de Gourmandie:
Army establishment consists of regular and militia regiments of foot, horse, and guns. Provision has also been made to accommodate private sponsorship of infantry and cavalry legions, approved by the governing council and the Grand Duke.
The regular army consists of infantry regiments, cavalry regiments, and artillery companies. The infantry is divided into two classes: line and light. The cavalry is divided into two classes: heavy (dragoons & cuirassiers) and light (lancers and hussars). The regular artillery consists of field (6lb or 12lb) and siege (18lb or 24lb) companies. The militia consists of infantry and cavalry regiments and artillery companies.
Regular line infantry regiments are each composed of two field battalions (each with one 3lb artillery piece, crewed by infantry personnel) and one depot battalion. The first (or Colonel's) battalion is composed of two divisions of musketeers and one of grenadiers, carries the Colonel's colour, and is commanded by the regimental colonel. The second battalion is composed of three divisions of musketeers, carries the Ordonnance standard, and is commanded by a Chef de Battalion. The depot battalion is composed of two musketeers divisions and is maintained and recruited in the regiment's home district.
Regular light infantry regiments are each composed of one field battalion and one depot battalion. The field battalion is composed of two divisions of chasseurs and is commanded by the regimental colonel. The depot battalion is composed of one half-division of chasseurs and is maintained and recruited in the regiment's home district. Light infantry regiments do not carry their standards in the field.
Militia infantry regiments are each composed of one field battalion (each with or without one 3lb artillery piece, crewed by infantry personnel) and one depot battalion. The field (or Colonel's) battalion is composed of three divisions of musketeers, carries the Colonel's colour and the Ordonnance standard (if available), and is commanded by the regimental colonel.  The depot battalion is composed of one musketeer division and is maintained and recruited in the regiment's home district or community.
Regular heavy and light cavalry regiments are each composed of three field squadrons and one depot squadron, maintained and recruited in the regiment's home district. The first squadron carries the Ordonnance standard and is commanded by a Chef d'Escadron and the regiment by the regimental Colonel.
Militia cavalry regiments are each composed of one or two field squadrons and one half-depot squadron, maintained and recruited in the regiment's home district. The first squadron carries the Ordonnance standard and is commanded by a Chef d'Escadron and the regiment by the regimental Colonel.
Regular filed and siege artillery companies are each composed of two divisions and a depot division. Each division is composed of one or two guns of appropriate caliber. Field companies are equipped with 6lb or 12lb guns; siege companies with 18lb or 24lb guns. A battery is commanded by a Capitaine and each division by a Lieutenant.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Maurice campaign tracking spreadsheet

For those interested in these sorts of things, I have updated and (hopefully) improved the Maurice campaign tracking spreadsheet (cuz I seem to have that kinda time). You can see some snapshots below. I have added much to the sheets so that army creation, purchasing units during the campaign, and spending EPs are included. The sheet now tracks EPs gained and spent for each army.
A look at the Overview Page that tracks all of the stats from the other worksheets. Army Creation Point Allowance and Winning Epic Point Total are editable according to campaign requirements and drive the formulae thorught out the workbook.
One of the Army worksheets, in this case for my army, Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie. Army Creation Points, Epic Points, National Advantage purchases, and unit purchases are tracked here in detail. As well, on the bottom right, the Principal Arm ratio is calculated.
The Battles worksheet where details of battles are recoded. Epic Points earned here are reflected on the other worksheets.
If anyone would like a copy of the excel workbook, drop a comment below and we'll make arrangements.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thoughts on Maurice campaigning...

Some thoughts on our proposed Maurice campaign:

1) I've created an army creator spreadsheet that calculates unit and national advantage costs. An snapshot is included below, showing my proposed army:

You can see that I am one point over the 100 point allowance (the cell changes colour when exceeding the maximum allowance). Either I persuade Phil to accept this extra point or I need to re-arrange and re-calculate. How generous are you feeling Phil?

2) I realized it was necessary to add a calculator for Principal Arm ratio (see the bottom right of the image above). Maurice requires an army commander to declare a Principal Arm, infantry or cavalry. Whichever is chosen, the army may not have more than a 3:1 ratio of principal arm units over the other arm. In my case, I first realized that with all of my infantry units, I was well over the 3:1 ratio (actually closer to 5:1). Then an inspiration came. I added the Saint-Felicien Dragoons and brought the ratio under 3:1. More about these dragoons anon...

3) The unfortunate thing is that in order to include all of my army (and satisfy the Principal Arm requirement by adding the extra cavalry unit), the entire army would need to begin the campaign at conscript quality. But this doesn't really bother me since it seems somehow appropriate that I start from scratch with this army and I'll have an opportunity to watch it grow in experience and quality.
Note: Phil has only one cavalry unit so far so an exception will need to be made. Maybe in exchange for my extra army creation point?

4) How to include Michael (who has no army)?

a) He could paint his own army (clearly not an option...let's be realistic).
b) He could "create" an army from my units and use it to fight against Phil's army. This, of course would create an imbalance of two armies v. one (not necessarily a bad idea).
c) He could create an army from my extensive Carlist Wars collection. It is our ImagiNation world after all and we don't need to follow any particular parameters except those we impose. This option may have a snag, however. I am contemplating selling this collection. But more of this anon...

5) Dragons Saint-Feliciens: How do I represent this unit in order to satisfy the Principal Arm restriction? Well, my revelation was that I have two 8-figure Front Rank units of Spanish Napoleonic dragoons painted and sitting in a box waiting for me to complete their brethren. These units were part of a stalled Napoleonic Peninsula project (OK, realistically not stalled...forgotten). The Spanish dragoons of the time had very 18th century style uniforms and will fit quite nicely into my ImagiNation army. And the yellow uniforms are so pretty!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Campaigning in my ImagiNation

So, after my excursion to Kingston on the weekend and my highly enjoyable ImagiNation game with Phil & Michael, I've come home re-energized about the hobby (we'll see how long that lasts). Over the last couple of years, Phil and I have pitted our growing ImagiNation armies against one another several times, often with help from others. We've sort of kept track of our armies, but not really seriously. I've proposed to Phil that we start a Maurice campaign and follow its progress here, from army creation to final victory. Again, we'll see how it goes but it promises to be fun.

My first order of business was to create a spreadsheet to calculate possible initial army creations. Not so onerous a task as one might think, since I do this for a living. Maurice recommends using 100 points to spend on unit creation and army characteristics. I think we'll follow that recommendation to start. There are of course options to build on your basic army, but that would also require the painting of more figures. Hmmmmm, not so easy.

And rather than bog down the blog with detailed descriptions of the rule mechanisms, I think the better approach would be to go forward in an anecdotal and descriptive fashion. But to each his own, since Phil is now a contributing author on the blog. Of course Michael is too, but he has no army. But I have a few ideas to get him in the campaign as well, despite that rather significant shortcoming. But more of that anon...

Kingston Gaming Weekend, part 2

Some more lovely pictures of our game (First ImagiNation victory in two years..)