Monday, 14 July 2014

A Two-for-One Summer Sale!

Sometimes summers are slow and lazy; sometimes they're busy, and I'm slow and lazy. I know which one this summer has been. I've been painting and I'll share that in another entry. This entry is going to tell of two week's gaming at the Hamilton Road Gaming Group.

Two weeks back, Martin hosted a WWII "What if..." game. What if the French fleet battled the British fleet early in the war? What if the Vichy government's fleet had not been destroyed and had taken to the high seas to oppose the Royal Navy? Well, our results weren't pretty. Martin has a nice collection of miniatures (1/2400, I think) for both the French and British navies of WWII. Some of it is conjectural - like the French hybrid aircraft carrier-battleship, but it all makes for a good game. The smallest ships used were light cruisers; no destroyers or destroyer-escorts, although the rules (Naval Thunder) make provision for such "tin cans." I'm not a great fan of naval games and I'll still play the game willingly. Andy, Martin, and I sailed with the Republic while Rob, Derek, and Stu commanded the Royal Navy's task force.

We decided to keep our distance from the British on our L-shaped table since we had longer ranged guns. That strategy worked for a while.
The French hybrid aircraft carrier-battleship, Jean Bart
Good weaponry to the front, less so from behind.
This model was done on a 3-D copier.

One of the French cruisers

British battleship - HMS Lion, I think. It got pummelled early on.

Another view of one of the British flotilla

and again. The chips show targeting by enemy guns.

Either the HMS Rodney or HMS Prince of Wales with that soccer field up front.
Stu drew first blood by sinking one of my more modern battleships and a second soon after.
Stu, gleefully taking scalps.

... and a second scalp!

Andy takes revenge for the French Republic.
A hit on a British battlecruiser!

A hit on Jean Bart!

More hits on part of the Royal Navy's ships, and one turns back.
In the end, the French got the worst of it. I wish sometimes that my memory permitted me to recall all of those ships' name, but alas, mon ami, it was not to be. Jean Bart, Jean Bart, Jean Bart....

Last Saturday, I hosted an American Civil War game using Mr. Lincoln's War rules. A new fellow, "Whilm" (who is a really fine player) and I ran the Union, while my wife, Beth and the ersatz Southern gentleman, Bear pushed Confederate lead. My Federals were cut up by Confederate troops in houses while the Southern Cavalry slowed down Whilm's advance but could not stop it.
One of Bear's Virginia regiments in a firefight with Whilm's troops. 
Michigan and Wisconsin regiments advancing.
They were supposed to be the "Iron Brigade" but seemed more like aluminium foil.

More Midwesterners. The figures are a mix of Minifigs, Old Glory, and a manufacturer whose name I can't remember.

New Yorkers! 146th Zouaves and 39th New York - the Garibaldi Guard.
Obviously I like colourful outfits. Dixon and Falcon minis.

Bear, Tyler, your humble scribe, and Whilm. Beth took this photo and all the others of the day.

Texans in the town... which included an anachronistic Pennsylvania Dutch barn.

Table clutter - Half of Dixon's Union flag set.

Resin cast tents - two wall tents for sergeants and cooks, 4 pup  tents for the boys.

Beth's Texans hold the stone wall of the church yard.

The 2nd Maryland has driven back some of the Michigan regiments.

Whilm's advance as his Pennsylvania brigade barges through the light woods.
Bear's cavalry brigade faces them. (6th Virginia and an undesignated regiment)
The red yarn shows the actual edge of the wooded area,

Action in the town!
the 39th NY attacks the stone wall. They fell back but did more casualties to the Texans.
The 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers (the "Bucktails") skirmish in front of the Rebel battery while
the 11th Indiana ("Wallace's Zouaves") back them up.
The mob of Texans behind the battery are actually in the house/houses/built-up area.

Tents and semaphore team near a field where the haystacks look like gabions.
Bear's late game deployment
I made a lot of mistakes in this game, but I also came to a decision --- Mr. Lincoln's War is going on the shelf. I enjoy the game but it is quite "fiddily" and hard to explain/learn. I believe I'll be switching to Black Powder with range/movement adjustments for 15mm figures. There are enough variants within the game to cover all the stuff that could come up in an ACW game. I just have to check on such things as rifled artillery.

More reenacting coming up. I didn't make the Chippewa/Lundy's Lane event, but we'll be at Fort Erie, at the Family Fun day at Old St. Thomas Church, at the Iron Horse festival in St. Thomas, and at the Cambridge Highland games.

Lastly, a visitor at our front door today. I'd buy cookies from him. I'd even listen to his message... if he spoke.
"A moment of your time, sir?"

 We've had more and more wildlife on our front stoop lately.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Black Creek ------ belated

Well, life got in the way of blogging again. The past few weeks have been busy - funerals, a wedding, and the Synod Convention in Toronto. At least at the last event I got to dance the Chicken Dance with the Presiding Bishop for a short time.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Beth and I were invited to join in the fun at the Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, ON. Every year they hold an American War of Independence reenactment which usually pits Loyalist/Torie units against some Patriot/Rebel units. (You folks can decide how to sort that out.) My friend, Andy invited us to join in the fun as part of the "Yorkers" who reenact the King's Royal Regiment of New York, a premier Loyalist regiment. Since Beth was still in her AirCast boot, we didn't get any photos of the skirmish. That skirmish was held 'way back in the woods of the Pioneer Village... which sits at the north side of Toronto in the middle of all the traffic on Jane Street and Steeles Street. Andy had me join up with the so-called "veterans unit" - Macdonall's Company, which is made up of older men who don't like to/can't run around like the younger and more limber fellows of the Yorkers, the Queen's Rangers, Butler's Rangers, or the Highland Emigrants. (I decided I could never join Butler's Rangers. Not only do they run around too much, the original unit was involved in a massacre near where I was born - the so-called "Sugar Loaf Mountain massacre."

In any event, we got some photos of the REAL story - the piping of the Haggis. I'd  never had haggis before and I enjoyed it! It isn't Scottish scrapple; it's far better. And it's served with whiskey as well.

The Yorkers' encampment with the tents in the background.

Andy in his full regimentals as a member of the grenadier company... and myself.

The same.

The Haggis was piped in properly; the poem was recited;
the dirk was used to slice open the storied puddin' and we all dug in.

Haggis and Triscuits... Why not?

My great experiment...

I was graciously invited to join the Yorkers. However, I feel a bit stretched at the moment. As Bilbo Baggins put it: "Too little butter scraped over too much bread." I will have to hold off because other commitments are taking my time. I enjoyed the day. Saw some old friends and made some new ones.

Now here is the wonder of the age: a sign that has amazed and perplexed me since I moved to the area seven years ago. Ask whatever question you want, it's still beyond talking about. (This really is a place of business near where I live. I've heard they keep the two activities in separate buildings, but one never knows.)

Have at it, boys and girls!