Sunday, June 25, 2017

Custom Dials for To the Strongest! from dialdude - a Review

    When I was running my Egypt vs Assyria game with Simon Miller's To the Strongest!  rules at HAVOC, one of the players made a very astute suggestion. Both of these armies are very heavy on missile armed troops, and each unit can have anywhere from 1 (pila) to 7 (veteran archers) shots. What is more, ammo can be replenished from the Army reserve during the course of the game, not to exceed the original starting allocation. Keeping track of the ammo remaining on the roster sheets was both time consuming and easy to forget, and replenishing ammo made things still worse. Thus the gentleman in question suggested the use of dials to track ammunition for each unit. This seemed a very good idea to me.

    With my Historicon games fast approaching, I decided to check out some options. First I looked at the dials by Litko. They looked like excellent quality products, but I figured that I needed as many as 80 dials, so at a minimum price of $3/dial, the cost would be prohibitive. In addition the bright plastic construction just seemed like it would be out of place for Ancients games. Several years ago, Bob Jones had sent me some Napoleonic Themed dials from the Dial Dude, which were very nice. However, he has since passed out of business. Some Google searching lead to several threads on The Miniatures Page dealing with the Dial Dude, and a possible successor, dialdude.ca. As both the threads and dialdue.ca are clear to point out, this is a completely different operation from the original Dial Dude (present whereabouts unknown).

    The Dialdue.ca site promised quick production and delivery of the dials (important with Historicon then being about a month away), a design charge of only $5 for custom designs, to be applied against any order (so really free as long as you actually placed an order for a few dials), and the very reasonable price of $1 Canadian per dial, plus $5 shipping. An email or two to Jeff Black (aka, the dialdude) quickly arrived at a design (see below), and an order was placed for 80 dials. I received them yesterday, less than 3 weeks from the first inquiry. Hard to beat that!


Design #1 - Tan bow and Arrow on green field.


Design #2 - mirror image of #1 - green bow and arrow on tan field.


The tops - the tan bow is laser carved out of the surface of the green dial, while for the the tan dial the green is left in place for the design, and the rest etched away. 


The bottoms. I wanted a different color for each opposing army to reduce potential confusion, , and figured these colors would blend in unobtrusively on my green, tan, and /or brown table coverings.


The underside of the lids and bottoms - the black is magnetic sheeting. The numbers on the dials (or text, or whatever) are also completely customizable. As the dials arrived in a bag with all the parts jumbled together, at first I was at a bit of a loss for how these worked. A quick email to Jeff and an equally quick response clarified things. "The dial tops have a self adhesive magnet attached and the white material on the other half will attract a magnet.  You should be able to hold a magnet upside down with the top still holding on".  Make it so!

Here's what 80 dials look like - 40 each tan on green, and green on tan. 


Some dials with 28mm BTD Romans.


The dials are 1" in diameter.


Appearing at Historicon in less than 3 weeks; thanks, Jeff!


In summary: The website is a bit sparse, and  gave a bit of an impression that it might be inactive, but nothing could be farther from the truth!

Service: Excellent
Ease of Customization: Outstanding
Quality of Product: Excellent
Value: Outstanding

Hail, dialdude!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

III Romans


Next in the Imperial Roman series is this unit of Legionaries, wearing the lorica segmenata, which we tend to think of as the classic look for these troops.  This is probably more courtesy of Hollywood than history, but it is distinctive!


Oops, missed some brass on that front left shield; since corrected! I opted against painting or using shield transfers for the complex "wings and lightening bolts" designs that were commonly used in this era, in part because I just couldn't be bothered, in part because I actually think the plain shield looks better, and in part because these troops are designed as part of my Palmyran forces, so they may not have retained those symbols of Rome.



Regardless, they are still an imposing sight!


"Gladius drawn and at the ready!"  These are 28mm Black Tree Designs figures once again. 


Supposedly, the chief  advantage of the lorica segmentata was it s considerably lower weight than chain mail; the disadvantage was higher maintenance needs and cost. Believe it or not, you can buy a set on Amazon for under $200!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

II Romans

The second Imperial Roman unit is mustered out!


Legionary Support Archers


While not the main arm of a Legion, the role of missile troops increased gradually over the life of the Empire. 

Black Tree Designs figures once again (as indeed will be all of the Imperial Romans). Too bad they don't do some Cavalry to go with them!


Et mittentis sagittam Legio 
(Having no working knowledge of Latin, that's supposed to mean something like "Archers of the Legion")

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Romans

A few days behind the schedule set out in their marching orders, the first unit of Imperial Romans strides off the painting table!


"Pila at the ready!"


These are Auxilia in chain mail armor. 


The  coat of "magic wash" really brought these figures to life!


These are Black Tree Designs figures, purchased during one of their many sales. They were raised chiefly to bolster the infantry arm of my Palmyran army in their fight against the Sassanid Persians next month at Historicon. 


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Historicon 2017 Plans

It's hard to believe that I will be departing for Historicon 2017 just 6 weeks from today! As usual I have an ambitious schedule planned. For the first time in recent memory... maybe ever, in fact, I have actually pre-registered to play in some one else's game as well! Here are the PEL listings for the various games:


THURSDAY

T-378 Battle of Ctesiphon 263 AD Ancients; 10 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Anderson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: To the Strongest!; No. of Players: 8. King Odaenathus of Palmyra and Shapur I, King of Kings of the Sassanid empire clash near the Persian capitol. Plenty of Armour cavalry, camels and Elephants, but no tanks! TtS! is easily learned, and plays quickly, using a subtle grid and playing cards - no dice or rulers! Children 14 and above welcome with a playing adult

T-381 Battle of Ravenna: April 11,1512 Renaissance; 6 PM; Length: 5 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Anderson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Hostile Realms by Piquet, Inc (modified for Historical play); No. of Players: 8. This key battle was fought during the War of the League of Cambrai of the Great Italian Wars. The outnumbered forces of the Holy League (Spain and the Papal States) have deployed in an entrenched camp, hoping entice the French to attack. It seems that both sides have a surprise or two up their doublets, however! Familiarity with Piquet and/or Field of Battle helpful but not required


FRIDAY

Since I bugged Eric repetitively to run a 7 Years War game this year, it is only right that I signed up for it as a player: 

F-584 SYW – Combat at Reichenberg Seven Years War; 1 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Eric Burgess; Scale: 15mm; Rules: Piquet’s Cartouche 2nd ed modified; No. of Players: 4. Come refight the small battle of Reichenberg, April 21, 1757, with the Prussians attacking under Bevern and the Austrians under Konigsegg defending small ridge lines with excellent terrain and field fortifications. Can you take command and win the field? Players 18 and older. Familiarity with Piquet would help, but rules will be explained. I will be using house modifiers to the basic rules.

F-379 The Viceroy’s Triumph: Battle of Raab, May 25, 1809 Napoleonic; 6 PM; Length: 5 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Anderson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Field of Battle, 2nd edition; No. of Players: 8. The last of Prince Eugene’s battles with the forces of Erzherzog Johann, this action saw the Hungarian Insurrection in combat for the first and last time. Children 14 and above welcome with a playing adult

The start time for the Raab game is a little closer than I'd like to the end of Eric's game. but Raab doesn't have that m,any troops (by my standards at least), and the terrain isn't particularly complicated, so as long as I have everything well organized and  trucked in in advance I should be OK... with a little help from my friends!


SATURDAY

S-380 Chariots of the Gods? Ancients; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Anderson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: To the Strongest!; No. of Players: 12. Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, invaded and briefly conquered Egypt in 671 BC. A hypothetical engagement between the forces of Egypt, Assyria, and their Canaanite allies. Tts! is easily learned and plays quickly but subtly, using an unobtrusive grid, and playing cards in place of dice. Over 40 chariots on the table for this game! Children 14 and above welcome with a playing adult.

I decided to run this game rather late on Saturday, as in recent years the main gaming area has gotten quiet by Saturday night, and folks are often looking for a game to play. This one should have good "curbside appeal", the rules are easily l;earned, and it will almost certainly play to a conclusion in the allotted time. 



This years theme is "100 Years of Tanks", which holds no interest for me at all. However, there will be two games run by Brian Cantwell using FoB2 and 3mm Microarmor that I will try to look in on (well, at least the Friday AM session):

Friday, 6 PM, F-541
Saturday, 9 AM, S-542

Today Capuzzo, Tomorrow Tobruk. Operation Battleaxe , June 1941

Theme World War II Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Brian Cantwell; Scale: 1/600; Rules: Field of Battle World War II; Sponsor: Picoarmor; Prize: Prizes provided by Picoarmor (www.picoarmor.com); No. of Players: 6. With the disappointment of Operation Brevity and the arrival of the Tiger convoy, Churchill has pressured Wavell to launch his next offensive, despite minimal time for the crews to train on their newly arrived tanks. Can superior numbers, British spirit, and the Queen of the Desert carry the day and open the way to Tobruk or will the Desert Fox once again steal victory using daring and his last fuel reserve? Maneuver battalions and brigades in this division scale game of Operation Battleaxe. No experience needed, rules will be taught. Young gamers welcome with supervising adult.

As usual, I have a lot of painting to get done in the next 6 weeks:

3 units of 12 each of BTD Romans, 2 each Legionaries, Auxilia, and Bowmen. These are nearing completion; I plan to have them done by this weekend. 


2 units of 12  each Palmyran archers, Sassanid Javelinmen, Sassanid archers, plus 6 - 10 Sassanid Clibanophori and 16 - 20 Palmyran light cavalry. All Old Glory 25's.  That's a lot yet to paint, but they are pretty easy figures to do, and the OOB is flexible enough that if I fall  a bit short it won't be any big deal.  Unfortunately, ALL of it is needed for the very first game of the show!


There have been a few distractions along the way as well:


"Hooding Ceremony" for my younger daughter, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine.


Processional entry of the Veterinary Medicine class of 2017 at the  General Commencement Exercises at Cornell stadium the following day. . If you look closely, you will see that the somewhat rowdy Vet Med grads are all waving long red (Cornell colors!) inflated full arm length exam gloves. You probably *don't* really want to know what they are used for, LOL!


Dr. Anderson and *almost* Dr. Anderson #2, with the Empress and her mother.  Lillian will be 91 in a week, and sure doesn't look it!


Although she looks fine here, Kristie has actually been in horrible pain in her leg from a huge lumbar disc herniation for the past 5 months, and is having surgery for same... today. Because of her many medical issues, she has about 3 months more of clinical rotations left before she will be officially done, and her surgeon doesn't want her to go back on clinical for almost 4 months after surgery [unlike (most) human medicine, veterinary medicine is physical stuff!]. We're hoping it will be more like 3 months!


Zoe and Annie go for a recreational swim  in the Shepaug River back home this weekend, just below the small rapids crossed by Volunteer's Bridge.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Assyrian Thunder

The third of four new Assyrian Heavy Chariots rumbles forth to battle!


Like the others before it, this is Hinchliffe 25mm model.


this time the color scheme is a medium blue tending towards Turquoise, and off white. 


Dental floss reins painted off white adorn the model once again. 

A rear view shows the four man crew figures better. 


An interesting short video on the Assyrian military. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Clashes in the Snows: The Battle of Fitchwoods, 1807

It is hard to believe that it has been 6 months since the last battle of our LANNES campaign, but Barry and I finally got the next battle on the table this past weekend.

The scenario set up for this battle resulted in one of Barry's Commands being late to the battle, and when he rolled for which one it was, it was his largest and best Brigade. In partial compensation, one of his commands could deploy an extra 18" onto the table - note the Russians occupying the central forrest,  known as Fitchwoods, from the nearby Fitchekowski farmstead. 


In addition, Fabian Faucon rolled high for starting Morale points, whilst Boris Badenov rolled... poorly. I had to deploy one of my command groups first, and opted for a fairly balanced deployment, planning to take advantage of my superiority in Cavalry and numbers. The Russian Artillery was know to be superior to mine, although my gunners were slowly starting to improve over the course of the campaign. 


Starting setup, as seen from the French side. The unit in square on my right flank is the Wurzburg Regiment of the Confederation of the Rhine, representing one of my new recruits - a Militia grade DD4/CD8 unit. Best to keep such riff-raff out of the fighting and hope they roll up at the end of the battle. I brigaded it with my 2 Guard status infantry units (both of which had excellent DD10 defense dice and crap Combat dice, and thus were resilient, but impotent!) and a decent foot battery,


Early on, Barry rolled up a "Triple Magic Move" with his right flank Dragoon brigade. Recall that Barry's Dragoons are by now world famous for their, uh, less than stellar performance characteristics. They charged my artillery battery in waves. The first unit was forced back with losses (" a rock and a chicken"!), but it took the fire of both batteries to do so. Uh-oh!


Sabers versus ramrods... not a favorable match up!


Yep, scratch one French Artillery battery. On the other hands, the position of the Dragoons is now quite isolated. 


Indeed, at the next opportunity, my supporting infantry fire into the victorious Dragoons at close range "Putin THAT in your samovar and drink it, Vladimir!" The aftermath is seen here, with the Dragoons, feeling much more comfortable in their traditional deployment.


On the opposite flank, my brigade of elite Hussars trots forward, Their supporting horse battery is lagging behind.


Th recipient of their own Magic Move, the Hussars then charge forward into the lead Russian cavalry unit. 


Ah, Russian Dragoons - the Breakfast of Champions!


Yet another charge by the Hussars shows that the Russian Uhlans are made of sterner stuff, routing one Hussar and throwing the other one back. However, the the charge allowed my supporting Horse battery to establish itself in a good position. 


Black Powder is touched off all across the Russian lines!


Both French Legere units suffer heavy casualties in the process!  "Run Away!"


My left flank Chasseurs and Dragoons finally get their act together, running down the Routed Russians.


Overview of the action, as the central woods is being contested.


Finding the Russian batteries "unloaded", two French battalions beat the pas de charge!


The batteries are overrun, and my initial advance in to the woods is successful.


Boris Badenov swears under his breath, and then shouts to his aids "Where are those good-for-nothing Grenadiers?"


Meanwhile the French Horse Battery finds the range on the Uhlans, and its accurate fire sends them looking for the next coach to Siberia!


The French press their advantage hard... perhaps too hard?


Both armies catch their breath, frosty as it is in the frigid January air, and consolidate their positions. 


Fifes and drums playing  a martial air, the Grenadiers at last make their appearance on the Russian Right.


Bayonets are crossed in the Woods. 


Grenadiers and Jagers at the upper left.


A plucky French Bayonet charge over runs the Russian 12 lber battery on the far Russian right, but the rest of the  Russian Reserves move up smartly and smash 2 French Battalions.


However, French Artillery fire routs 2 Russian battalions in return. The Russians are at zero Morale points and are handing chips to the French.


Passing not one but two Army Morale checks, the Russians decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and begin to withdraw. The French with much of their infantry severely mauled, do not contest the withdrawal seriously, Their exhausted men commence seeking what shelter they can find from the long cold night of Polish winter; the footsore Russians are less fortunate.