Monthly Archives: August 2011

NOVAG’s newsletter GAMERS CLOSET #64 released

NOVAG’s excellent electronic newsletter, THE GAMER’S CLOSET, just published their 64th issue. I have placed it in my dropbox public folder and it is available for download HERE. I recommend it, there is an excellent historical article on the Russian army in World War I, as well as a review of COMMAND AND COLORS: NAPOLEONICS (reviewed elsewhere in this blog) using miniatures. Well worth printing out and reading.

Gamer's Closet 64 Cover

Gamer's Closet 64 Cover: click link to launch PDF file


A little Demolition Derby FUN

The recent Prince William County Fair in Virginia featured a little amateur Demolition Derby action which Audrey was able to capture some snippets of. I am inspired.. I may have to put my own team together and call it the Mad Scientists.

Uncharted Seas: The Battle of Skull Island

Uncharted Seas banner image copyright Spartan Games

An Epic Battle in Small Scale REPLAY from the Guns of August Convention, Saturday 13 August 2011

I ran a game of Uncharted Seas, one of my favorites, at the Guns of August convention on Saturday.  Mr. LaRochelle was kind enough to document a good portion of the action of the event and unless otherwise stipulated all photo credits are courtesy of Mr. Dewey LaRochelle.

Gar Helps load the game

Setting up: As previously mentioned, the Guns of August convention is a fun smaller sized convention that covers the waterfront from miniature wargaming to roleplaying with everything in between. There were events going on all over the con and as I had only committed to running a game a mere week before the con, I wasn’t expecting a nice space, but got one anyway. We got two 4 by 10s (I think) that I positioned nose to nose and covered up with three water patterned battle mats. The scenario I had in mind was truly ad hoc, just a free for all among fleets. I like to add a little terrain bits to break up line of sight and add something to hide behind.

Garrett pimping the game to passers-by.

Setting up fleet sheets.

I gave each corner of the table a signficant island and added a beauty of a piece I got from Howard Whitehouse, a “Skull Island” which I put in the middle, more or less. This permitted the fleets to enter the battle space with some protection against immediate long ranged attack.

The Battle Map

Fleet Selection: Dispositions were as you see on the map above.  There’s a very specific formula for balancing on-table forces in Uncharted Seas. I usually ignore this for the coolness factor. Thus, I have some very unbalanced fleets that are a little overpowered. For instance, the Orcs, my favorite fleet. I have bought every Orc Raider upgrade ship produced by Uncharted Seas so far. Why? Because they look cool. I have bought extras in every fleet, but some fleets are better than others for sheer numbers. For instance, a very happy flea market find netted me an extra human fleet and an extra Bone Griffons fleet. I’m not going to just leave these unpainted– but the net result is an abundance of that kind of ship. My strongest fleet for ramming and boarding purposes is probably the Orcs, for overall survivability the Humans, for Defense and Smashing power, the Dwarves. We decided against the humans and just for a lark I chose the weakest fleet– the Elves. Or to put it properly, “those lute-playing, tree-hugging Elves”..  Garrett chose the Dragon Lords (his favorite) but was whining about not choosing the Dwarves because of their cool big red airship, a recent addition to their fleet.

Summarizing Fleet Strengths and Weaknesses:

  • The Elves: Mediocre hitting power but fast speed with the wind behind them.  Also a small detachment of non-wind powered Destroyers to add to the mix.  Not a pushover, per se, but more fragile than other hulls.  The Elf Admiral will have to be on the move at top speed during the upcoming battle, just to stay alive.
  • The Orcs: A wide variety of capital ships designed to fire forward, Ram, and Board.  The downside is that the ships, with one exception, only fire directly forward.  Their advantage is in the larger crew sizes on almost every hull in the fleet.  If any fleet will be capturing prizes, it will be the Orcs.
  • The Dragon Lords: Decent movement and hitting power, with the advantage of having a Dragon Carrier along to launch small fighter-like Naugra Dragons.  Alas, not a fleet with as much depth as others so somewhat fragile overall.
  • The Dwarves: The most technologically advanced fleet on the board, but not the fastest by a long shot.  Ships favor the broadside.  Has maybe the best ship on the board during this battle, the Dwarven Heavy Cruiser.  This is another “over purchased” fleet that has had a lot of releases with an obvious cool factor, and I’ve bought a lot (but not all) of them– the Kraken Submarine, the Dwarf Airship, the Heavy Cruisers.  This probably is the best fleet on the board for long distance gunnery and overall survival factor.
  • The Bone Griffons: For starters, this is two starters.  Sets, that is.  Thus, the Bones, who have a decent amount of hull types, have a larger number of capital ships than any other fleet on the board.  However, those capital ships are fragile and rely on the wind.  The Bone Battleship has a customizable element where you can choose catapults that fire at an arc or direct firing arbalests firing broadsides.  I think the fire support possibilities are outstanding and have rigged the models for five catapults between two battleships.

The Dwarven Fleet. Note the cool factor of a Dwarven Zeppelin.


The action followed a sort of circular around the board pattern. The Bone Griffons sailed for the center, in two largish groups of three squadrons. They had a lot of ships to move. Their left wing gradually contended with the Orcs and their right wing almost immediately was fighting with the Elves (er, me). The Orcs seemed to lay off the Dragon Lords (directly behind and to their left) and instead advanced to take on the Dwarves and the Elves, then the Undead. The Dragon Lords contested with the Dwarves but seemed to think better of it after taking a lot of losses. The Dwarves fought the Elves to their left but also the Orcs and Dragon Lords, and didn’t lose a single (floating) hull.


The Elves, you might have noticed, were the common denominator in a lot of those attacks. Being fast but fragile, losses started piling up. I’d say the Elves were more reckless than most, but at least made good use of masking terrain. The Destroyer force came into contention with Bone Griffons very early and was lost to a man.. er, elf.

Elves on the move

The Dwarves on the right could pick and choose targets and had a great amount of reserve firepower to draw upon, plus some keen weapons platforms– I was eager to see their newest secret weapon, the airship, at work.

Dwarves chug out.. slowly.. to encounter the Dragon Lords, then the Orcs. With some Elf action too.

Alas, there were no grand donnybrooks on the right flank– the Dragon Lords player (Garrett) essayed out and tried to lock horns with the Dwarves, but lost a lot of smaller ships quickly, which made him shy of bringing on Armageddon.

That’s a lot of broadside.

The Dragon Lords player had some terrain advantages, being behind some giant rocks at start, and also didn’t have wind restrictions like the Elves, Orcs and Bone Griffons. But he needed to get his fleet into a position to use the broadsides of his larger ships to be effective, and his deployment didn’t support it. Dragon Lords isn’t large enough to cover two threats at once in depth, and his hitting power was decreased on both sides.


The Bone Griffons and Elves mix it up early on and the Elves lost their Destroyer squadron (you can see some of this in the photo below). The Bone Griffons played very well indeed, in accordance with their strengths.. large numbers and the fire support capability of the Battleship’s catapults.


Because the wind was against them for most of the game, they were delayed entering into a general donnybrook, and that is what allowed the squadrons the opportunity to position to support each other so effectively. Here we are, figuring out the firing arc for the Bone Griffons player, Mr. Dan Beattie.

PhotobucketAt roughly 17″ of arc that is most effective for damage at the third range band, the Battleships were very effective indeed.

The Elves did not fare very well. My strategy, such as it was, was to fend off hammer blows and try to conduct “sail by shootings” on targets of opportunity.

PhotobucketGetting Skull Island between the Elves and some Bad Guys.

At this stage The Elf fleet scored its greatest victory of the game, shooting down the Dwarven Superweapon, the Zeppelin bomber. Needless to say, this did not endear them to the Dwarves.

PhotobucketThe Humanity! the Humanity! or is it the Dwarfamity?

The Elves couldn’t buy a break in this game, and possibly that is because I don’t really have many specialty ships or haven’t figured out good tactics to use with this fleet. After losing the Destroyer Squadron on the left flank, I tucked into the Orcs in the center. This is usually a bad idea facing them head on but can be a doable do if you approach from the flanks, where you won’t be caught in the broadside. However, there was little room to maneuver in the center, and once past the Skull Rock I was exposed to fire from all sides. And fire they did!

PhotobucketDashing out amongst the Orc fleet in a fit of defiance.

I kept my heavies back to shoot at long range (the most notable victory being against the Dwarven zeppelin), and sent the frigates out like the speed bumps they are.  Predictable results versus the orcs: many of the Elf frigates were instantly blasted to kindling.

As the picture below depicts, with the fleets so close to each other on the table, maneuvering was tight and some ad-hoc negotiations were witnessed.  I’m not sure what transpired between the Dragon Lords and the Dwarves, but the went from shooting each other to avoiding each other.


The Dragon Lords and Orcs contested with each other and I did witness a successful boarding and capture by the Dragon Lords, believe it or not. Unfortunately the DL fleet was so widely dispersed it could not support attacks very well.

PhotobucketOrc Attacks

For his part, I think the Orc player was hesitant in his attacks and didn’t commit his strengths.  I would have sent out my big capital ships to engage the enemy closer and not worried about the flanks so much.

The Undead Player, the Bone Griffon’s “Admiral” was Dan Beattie, and he played his position well, attacking and doing surprisingly well with his undead Orca host.  Besides the Destroyer squadron, he also nailed a frigate or two and a Cruiser using long ranged fire.  Very sensible use of the Battleship Catapult platforms.


Here, the Elven Battleship squadron makes a run for Skull Island, to get it between them and the catapults of the dead.



Later in the battle, the Dragon Lords and the Orcs engage and get involved in a couple of ship to ship melees.


As you can see, the battlefield is getting crowded…


The boarding action is about to take place in the top right in the photo above– Dragon Carrier versus Dwarven assault barge. The Dragon Lords will win.

Later in the game, Garrett tries another sally into the area contested by the Dwarves with his “one spot” squadron.


And the Ram & Board action goes off! Both sides fight for two turns of melee and take appalling losses, but the Dragon Carrier started with more crew and therefore was doomed to win this one!

Borders Away!


The Dragon Lords encounter the Dwarves
The Last Great Fights..

By the time the Dragon Lords and Orc Raiders were fighting in earnest, the battle had been ongoing for about two hours plus. The Elves had taken terrible losses due to their “constant movement strategy” and the Orcs had taken a bit of a beating. The Dragons were down to three capital ships, the Elves two. The Bone Griffon’s large fleet was somewhat intact, having lost a cruiser or two and many undead whales, which he can always afford. The Dwarves were almost untouched except for the Zeppelin. Had we continued to play, we would all have been observors for the inevitable Zombies versus Dwarves on the High Seas battle that was building. Instead, we called the game and made it a draw (minor victory) between the Dwarves and the Bone Griffons.

Summary: A great game, somewhat flawed at the beginning by not having played it in about 8 months, and thus had to remember a lot of niggling (but easy) points on the fly. Fortunately the crowd was forgiving and we managed to have a great time. This game made me decide to invest in expanding the Elf Fleet which is woeful compared to the firepower evident in other fleets. I shall make a greater effort to balance future battles, at least along point cost guidelines.

The Various Fleet Commanders Celebrate

I loved running this game and it came together very quickly and painlessly for me.  Mostly because I had done the legwork for it two years ago and know how.

Dead Ships Pile on Dead Ship Island

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”

— Book of Revelations, King James Bible

Additional Ship pictures from the 25mm Pirate Game at Historicon 2011

Steve Struebing, owner of the Polymythic Blog, and one of my fellow Spanish Captains at the 25mm Pirate game we played at Historicon, has sent me some additional pictures of that battle. Thanks and a tip of the chapeau to Steve for sending them. I’m not going to repost the writeup, check my additional Historicon post for text and addtional pictures if you have an interest.











Here we go!

All photos property of Steve Struebing. Used with permission.

Guns of August and Beer and Pretzels Ironclads, first game

Garrett and I attended the GUNS OF AUGUST 2011 convention in Williamsburg, and had a pretty good time despite the mephitic stink wafting up from the Great Dismal Swamp, which was actually on fire at the time.  The entire Virginia peninsula was blanketed by a pall of smoke.  This did not deter convention attendance.. if anything it made people want to stay indoors in the air conditioning.

Williamsburg Holiday Inn
Williamsburg Holiday Inn site of Guns of August and Williamsburg Muster conventions.

I really enjoyed the Muster (so did Garrett) and the GOA event proved to be a lot of fun as well. The only drawbacks about travel to Williamsburg was using Priceline. I got a decent rate at a Budget Hotel on Bypass Road (Rt 60). In retrospect I should have tried to walk in– hotels and motels are not my big deciding factor in choosing a convention. I spend very little time in a hotel room so I prefer cheap and decent to overpriced and close to the venue. Alas, the Budget strained my good nature– the staff was surly, the wake up call didn’t happen, the continental breakfast broke down an hour ahead of what the front desk had said the night before, and the room was generally grimy, and humid. It felt like a hotel room out of Barton Fink. Ironically there was a cheap spot right next door to the hotel the convention was being held in!

And it was cheaper than Priceline
Hmmm.. right next door, and it was about ten dollars less than what Priceline gave me. Oh well, you live and learn.

Guns of August and Williamsburg Muster are run by the ODMS (Old Dominion Military Society), a local club that appears to be located in the mid Peninsula. They do an excellent job of running this convention and I applaud their efforts. Everyone I talked to was uniformly courteous, friendly and helpful. All this with volunteer help and a shoestring budget. Reminds me of the old NOVAGCON days. I miss those. Williamsburg is an excellent venue for a smaller convention like this– plenty for families to do, close to Richmond and the Tidewater area, tons of affordable hotels and restaurants surrounding the venue. I liked dropping in for the weekend, even if it took FOREVER to get there. Gar and I left at 8 AM and arrive at 12:45 PM. I can actually get to Lancaster PA faster.

Dystopian Wars Demo. Gar loved it.

The con itself is like a macrocosm of what I call the old TRIADCON/ATLANTICON model of providing a little bit of space for all kinds of gaming. RPGs and boardgames (especially board wargames) were in evidence everywhere, as well as miniatures in the larger hall. I wish I had had more time to attend as I would have loved to have played some boardgames as well as miniatures games. There was also a pretty good turnout of vendors. I ended up buying a new naval mat (I now have 3), The Lexington Timberclad, An Ellett Ram and a Casco Class Monitor models from Thoroughbred, The new version of Rules for the Common Man’s HAMMERIN’ IRON, some dice and assorted ephemera.  So we did a little something for our local economies.

Cool Chariot Game Sat. and Sun.


Lock and Load games
Mark Walker and Lock and Load Games were detected!

On Saturday Gar was going to play Mechwarrior while I sat in on a full game of Peter Pig’s HAMMERIN’ IRON game, but ended up sitting in with me.  Hammering Iron was demonstrated by the chaps from the RFCM crew (Martin Goddard, Andy Barnett, Ralph and Sam Ashdown) who were actually visiting the con to run demos all weekend (man, the pound must be doing very well against the dollar these days).  That put a crimp in my plans to run an Ironclad game for Saturday night, so I moved it to Sunday morning.    I’ll have more on HAMMERIN’ IRON in a follow on post.  Suffice to say I thought highly of the new rules and bought a copy.  I’m sure Larry at Brookhurst hobbies will appreciate my follow on business, as there is a lot of supporting material to purchase to make it happen.  Kudos especially to Martin Goddard who is kind, patient and entirely professional about demoing games.   I enjoyed playing in his event!

We went and checked into the Budget, and drove back, stopping off at Friendlies for dinner– very enjoyable and affordable too. Having swapped our events– my intention was to run Ironclads on Saturday and Uncharted Seas on Sunday– I ran the Uncharted Seas game Saturday night.  I’ll have more on this when Dewey LaRochelle, who sat in Saturday (as the victorious Iron Dwarves faction) sends me the photographs he took. We ended up heading back to the Budget Inn around 11 PM.  We woke up later than I would have liked (not having brought an alarm clock, and the aforementioned wake-up call not being forthcoming).


We set up Beer and Pretzels Ironclads, which was my first time running it anywhere.  The Scenario was mostly ad-hoc, but I kind of wanted to have a situation where the Union Navy is ambushed by smaller Rebel forces along a route of march.  This is what I set up.  North is up on this map.

BAPI Set up.


The Union Fleet is moving on a Southern fort, probably near Charleston. The Fleet is threading its way through a narrow channel in the middle of some off shore islands in the hope of positioning two mortar rafts in a place where they can shell the Fort from an angle where the forts’ guns won’t be able to fire back. There is a narrow deep channel through some small islands just South of the Fort (which is off map), which theoretically should provide a masked approach to a good firing angle (see the red line W to E on the map, above). Unfortunately for the Union commander, the Rebs got wind of this scheme and have deployed a Confederate Fleet of rag-tag group of vessels of all sorts along the route of the Union Fleet, with the idea of ambushing them, or at least blocking their progress.

Union Forces: USS NEW IRONSIDES, USS CAIRO, USS PASSAIC, USS ONANDAGA, and two armed tugs towing a mortar raft each.

Confederate Forces: CSS BEAUREGARD and CSS WEBB, at Position 1 on the map. They will engage the Union fleet early, and as their life expectancy is low, try to scuttle themselves right in the fleet’s path if they get too badly shot up. CSS MANASSAS and CSS ABLEMARLE will take the far Southern flank on Position 2 on the map. They will fire from a distance and avoid direct engagement with the Yankees. Lastly, CSS SELMA, CSS GENERAL SUMTER, and CSS TUSCALOOSA (Position 3) will try to deliver the knockout if they can, or block if they must. There were also two DAVID style submarines but we never got that far.

From the get go, this would prove to be as unbalanced on the table as it would be in real history. Even giving the Rebs extra ships, the differences between ironclads and wooden paddlewheels would be to great to overcome. Herewith is an illustrated replay, with commentary in the yellow boxes.  You may click on the image to expand it.

BAPI Union Fleet at start

The wary Union Fleet advances down their planned route (red line in map above).

CSS Manassas (L) and Ablemarle (R)

Manassas and Ablemarle in position 2.

The CSS Beauregard (L) and Webb (R)

Position 1: The CSS Webb and CSS Beauregard.



The 2 paddlers and Casemate on Position 3 go on the advance.

The General Sumter was the first Confederate ship to be struck. She was soon riddled but they hung in there until end of game. (top to bottom, SUMTER, SELMA and TUSCALOOSA).

Turn 2: Beauregard takes a broadside as Ironsides chugs by

The Ambush at position 1 occurs.. poorly.

The Beauregard did not activate quickly enough and the Ironsides was in place to deliver a broadside that packed a lot of weight. Being made of wood, the Beauregard was shot up pretty bad, losing a gun and a few crew. The Webb decided to move around to behind the Union fleet.


MANASSAS and ABLEMARLE try to get steam up to jump into the brawl..

They are slowed somewhat by the shallows (the green colored film) and take a desultory fire from the CAIRO and NEW IRONSIDES.


Meanwhile, ONANDAGA is moving obliquely South, trying to find a way around the collision ahead, and the mortar boats follow him.

Some lucky shots start a fire on the New Ironsides' Bow

The BEAUREGARD may have lost some crew but manages to get off a lucky shot on the NEW IRONSIDES, which was a critical!

Fire starts on the upper decks of the NEW IRONSIDES (this proves way too easy to put out, basically roll 2-6 on a six sider the next turn). Alas for the BEAUREGARD she is now in position to get a second broadside from NEW IRONSIDES (once she has reloaded a turn) and a fresh one from CAIRO and PASSAIC. A fire storm of shot hits her upper decks, splintering wood, killing hapless sailors, setting fires.. with only a few crew left, the BEAUREGARD drifts forward, her armor dropping from “M” level down to “VL” level. Her captain (probably a replacement) tries to steer her into the channel so she can block oncoming Union ships.. he’s going so slowly the Union easily slips past him, except for the PASSAIC.

Turn 3, Cairo and New Ironside get past the first ambush

early game, the rebs try to block the Union advance

Even with fires up top, the IRONSIDES and CAIRO slip past the rapidly settling BEAUREGARD, which misses an inadvertent ram from PASSAIC but receives deadly accurate close range fusilades from PASSAIC’s very heavy guns for its pains.

The SELMA sees the opportunity, and realizing that it is probably outmatched in broadside weight and armor, decides to dash in to ram the approaching IRONSIDES or CAIRO, it doesn’t matter which.

Turn 4: Beauregard tries to block Cairo and Ironsides, but they get past her... she's  badly shot up

Turn 6: the Rebs stampede the oncoming Union fleet.

Dramatic middle act

The TUSCALOOSA was just trying to find room to maneuver into a firing position, as it was getting pretty crowded in the channel at that moment.

Meanwhile, the ONANDAGA had made it over the bar and the only ship nearby to challenge its advance was the hapless MANASSAS. Talk about a mismatch!!

He had high hopes, he had hiiiigh, hopes..

The MANASSAS was shot into a leaky sieve, and had the game continued much later, would certainly have gone down in the shallows.

Turn 4: the Webb gets stuck in the shallows.  DRAT!

The CSS WEBB, last seen trying to go AROUND the Union navy, gets stuck in the shoals and can’t get off to save her life.

So aside from a parting shot from her rear light guns and a little bit of the CAIRO’s broadside unshipping one of her guns, she saw very little action in this fight.

Turn 6: The Union detach a mortar boat to set it up to shell the rebs

Likewise, the mortar boats (and, parenthetically, the DAVID class Confederate subs) didn’t come into play at all. There was too much going on and the tugs were so poorly armed and armored that Garrett didn’t wish to risk them.

close to end game

At this stage, we were running late in the day, it being near 2PM and we had a long drive ahead, so Gar and I made the victory condition sinking ONE Confederate ship (instead of 3, which we started the game with). As the BEAUREGARD was now going down, there were a few last acts to play out… like the ABLEMARLE trying to pull BEAUREGARD’s hash out of the fire unsuccessfully.


At this point, the game was officially called by me, as we had to hit the road.

Wide shot of end of the game

Summary: The Rebs didn’t have a huge chance of victory going into this, much like in real history. However, I would have weighed any actions to delay or block the Union as a victory. Technically speaking, the Rebs did a fine job of blocking and delaying, but got so shot to pieces doing it that there wouldn’t have been much of a fleet in a few more turns. So really, the Union fleet could have bulled its way through eventually. So I’m calling this a Union Minor Victory!

Using the turning template for BAPI

Rules assessment: This was our first time running Beer and Pretzels Ironclads.  The concepts were clear and very simple, and mostly resolved with either a 1D6 or 1D20 roll.  I had a moment trying to figure out the hit chart, since the typeface is all somewhat uniform and bland, but once I got over that hump the game became simplicity in itself.  I would run it again.

Admiral Garrett

And so we packed up and headed home, taking alternative routes. We had no difficulty at all on the return trip!

2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest audio read call for volunteer readers

Bulwer Lytton

That annual exercise in wretched literary excess, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, has been concluded and the results are posted HERE.

I have decided I would like to create an audio version, just for fun.  It would be posted on Airy Persiflage and likely the Internet Archive or Librivox, with full credit to reader volunteers.  If you are interested in participating, email me HERE.  You MUST have:

1) A decent plug in microphone
2) the ability to record and save an MP3 audio file.
3) Email (obviously)

Select in advance the passage you would like to read.  I’ll resolve any conflicts by gentlemanly negotiation.

Point to Point Interview with Your Humble Narrator and Bob Giglio at Historicon 2011

Point to Point Banner

HISTORICON 2011 was fortunate to have some podcasters present for our recent show.  I am very interested in encouraging more podcasters to show up and cover HMGS shows (not just on the East Coast, but all over the country if possible).  I love podcasts and follow many gaming podcasts.  Unfortunately there are not many podcasts that focus on miniature and tabletop gaming.  The ones that nominally do focus solely on tabletop games do seem to specialize on specific game rules and miniature lines (e.g., Warhammer, Flames of War).  This is not a universal statement– the D6 Generation has great coverage of tabletop games, I also like Meeples and Miniatures and some others that have lots of miniatures content.  Compared to the number of podcasts on board wargaming or roleplaying, however, there are not many of them.  If someone wants to work on a generalized podcast on Tabletop wargaming that covers the waterfront from fantasy to historicals, I’d listen to that in a heartbeat.  Just sayin’.

I volunteered to call a few podcasts that I thought might be a natural fit with a HMGS show’s clientele; Jason from Point to Point was kind enough to take me up at my offer. I like Point to Point quite a bit; this is a serious and thoughtful podcast on one my favorite hobbies, board wargaming.

Full Audio on this Point to Point Episode:″

The Historicon coverage of this episode starts around 1:10, I am interviewed starting at 1:11 (roughly).

Some points of clarification: I was speaking off the cuff with very little prep for this interview, so to clarify a flub or two I made–

1) I mention I collect and paint “Uncharted Waters” by Spartan Games. It’s not Uncharted Waters, it’s Uncharted Seas.
2) The Too Fat Lardies product I was trying to cite was not “Valor and Resolution”, it is Triumph of the Will. Sorry.
3) I believe the first publisher of Brother versus Brother was H.G. Walls. I also like Johnny Reb III.
4) During the “Ten Questions” segment, I accidentally referred to Dan Verssen of DVG Games, as “Bob Verssen”. Sorry, Dan!
5) As of today, there has not been an official announcement about the HISTORICON venue for 2012.
6) The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart is not really a retelling of Grimm’s Fairy tales, I was babbling. It’s about a couple of medieval thugs.
7) A Zed and Two Noughts by Peter Greenaway was not from the early 90s, but made in 1985.

Jason comments in an earlier segment where he was responding to a listener that wrote in that he has problems with the inaccuracies of measurement in tabletop wargaming– by this I mean his statement that he’d “take hexes or points on a map any day” over a miniatures style game. Presumably the “fuzziness” of the movement and picking up figures and placing them on the table again leads to ambiguities and arguments. I’m not sure what players Jason has been playing with, or what kind of tensions are present in his gaming experience, but I’ve never really experienced “arguments” over that issue. If anything, Miniatures is ALL ABOUT measuring specific angles, distances and such. That’s why we have all those tape measures. No worries, just mentioning a counterpoint.

In closing, I’m very happy Jason came up to cover HISTORICON and I hope he comes back to future HMGS shows. The footage was good and he covered the topic very well. We’d love to have him back!


Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1860-1905 by Andrew Wilson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Along with Paul Silverstone’s Warships of the Civil War Navies, this might be one of the most valuable source of technical specifications on the … Continue reading

Cosmic Encounter: A Thorough Drubbing


Me playing as the Purple HATERS...

We had a chance to play one of my favorite games in the omniverse, Cosmic Encounter, at Steve’s house for his annual OMG it’s the weekend before GENCON frenetic Paint n’ Pack fest on Sunday. I brought my own painting projects, which I managed to complete:

Ironclads 1/600 Scale, mostly Thoroughbred Figures except for the Spartan Games models:

  • Detail work on the RalGard Heavy Cruiser
  • Water giant for Uncharted Seas
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload
From Instant Upload

After we finished up painting and Steve’s frenetic last minute prep for selling a bunch of stuff at GENCON, we took a look at the giant FEZ BOX Steve and family made for NOVAG’s games at GENCON. Painted NOVAG fez green, with tassel included.

The Fez Box

The Fez Box!!

After that we pulled out Cosmic Encounters, playing the basic game plus a few encounter cards from the first expansion– no flares, lucre, moons or other silliness– just Encounters, Artifacts, Kickers and Morphs.

We selected aliens randomly, just like the good old days.  Here’s the spread:

Steve Gibson: The Chosen (yellow) Can Draw Extra Challenge Cards from the Deck & use them
Chris Gibson: The Vulch (green) Harvests Artifacts.
Jeff Molman: The Mutant (red) Can draw cards up to 8 if he is under.
Me: The Hate (Purple) Can force people to discard a card TYPE of his choice, and if the other players don’t have that card type, they lose three ships.

I had been in games with the Mutant and The Vulch before– they are reasonably balanced.  The Chosen was new to me and I found him a bit overwhelming. I used the Hate power judiciously as it didn’t win many friends– I still think it was no match for the Chosen.  But that’s life.

The Chosen

The Chosen: Yes, we ARE holier than thou.

The game started out in a series of defeats for THE HATE.  Purple was chosen two times in a row in the destiny pile and solicited Allies from the Vulch and the Mutant as depicted HERE. and THE CHOSEN’s  power to draw the first three cards from the encounter deck proved very difficult to counter in any meaningful way.  And nobody wants to ally against someone who could pick the top three cards of the draw deck, decide to add one of all of them to the final outcome  and there you go– you’ve been outnumbered.  In most cases, the power worked in the Chosen’s favor, and Steve played it aggressively.  He was only Cosmic Zapped once, and decisively.   Jeff played the Mutant as well as he could but the Mutant role is not as aggressive in this mix as the Chosen or Vulch proved to be.  THE VULCH was particularly effective, picking up artifacts every round.  Soon he had a hand to be feared, as most of us knew what was in it.

The Hate

Hatin' is for Haters

As the Cone passed to THE HATE, I drew THE VULCH in the Destiny Deck.     THE HATE drew in THE MUTANT to his attack, but the Vulch pulled a 30 attack card, and that was all she wrote.  Thus ended the great Hate offensive for the first time around the circle– and the Cosmic Cone passed to the Vulch.  The Vulch had a strong attack with all those artifact cards and understood the need to attack aggressively, but he vacillated in his turn, making a sweet arrangement with the Chosen as depicted HERE, and then moved on to attack the Mutant in half-hearted fashion, as depicted HERE.  The

Vulch.. doin' his vulchin thing... stripping the battlefield of artifacts.

Vulch’s assault stalled in the face of stiff resistance from the Mutant (with help from allies Hate and Chosen, who were happy to get a bunch of ships back from the Warp.  As his challenge failed,  so did the Cosmic Cone move on to the Mutant, not by nature a very aggressive player or perhaps he is just unlucky?  Who knows?      The Mutant proved he could prevail over the Chosen steamroller, and as he had stood by the Hate in the earlier round, Hate would stand with him now.

Numbers were finally playing in the favor of the anti-Chosen coalition– the higher cards had been played and the Chosen’s defenses were thin in his galaxy.   It was a gamble that payed off, Hey, you muties!  Get out of my cabbages!and the Hate jumped in with both feet.  Finally, no longer a Galactic loser!!!  The Cone passed on to the Chosen, who managed to encounter a stiff resistance from non other than the Hate (last Destiny card drawn). And then it was Hate’s turn once more.. one more time to try to turn the tide of fortunes around.  I had been keeping a weather eye on the Chosen all game long, as he seized an early lead and held on to it all game long.  However, I should have been paying closer attention to the Score wheel.  I had not noticed that the Vulch was now up to four victories after our last alliance, and when I invited him the last turn, naturally I didn’t count it.  Here I am rueing the day… and handing the victory to the Vulch!!  Oh well, losing track of who is the lead in a game of CE is also part of the game as a whole.   Even a solid loss in Cosmic Encounter is a fun time, and I think I can say a good time was had by all without fear of contradiction.  A fun day!