Friday, August 27, 2010

The NEW Shiny O'Malley

The new Shiny O'Malley. Figure from Sash & Saber. Not the greatest sculpt ever but it suits the man himself
I still haven't sprayed varnish on due to the high humidity, but soon he'll have a nice shine 
I actually painted eyes. His nose has been given a little "redness". His uniform is a mixture of regulation and non-regulation items, well suited to a Brigade commander who leads on foot. 
Model 1850 foot officer's sword. A respectable paunch and a gloriously white beard.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stop Me before I...

Stop me before I... buy Redoubt's ACW Naval landing party. I'd like to paint up a unit of sailors and a unit of Marines to use in games set on the coast.

I've been reading the excellent book Success Is All That Was Expected which details the naval operations of the South Atlantic Blockading schedule. It has given me a real taste for coastal ACW operations. Not really the ships, but the smaller scale actions that occurred throughout the war.

Stop me before I spend again!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shiny's Charge "Game Report"

Shiny urges two Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiments to charge home!

Date of Game: August 14, 2010
Era: American Civil War, 1863
Location: Wrightsville, Pennsylvania (fictional battle)
Rules: Guns at Gettysburg
Scale: 28mm
Players: Scott Pasha (Union Center), Jim (CSA left), Mike (CSA right), Eddie (CSA center), Gary (Union Right), Matt (Union Left)
Victory Conditions: Take and hold the town of Wrightsville
Played at: Yankee Peddler Wargames Club
Game Length: Approx 4.5 hours

My photos are even worse than usual and, again, I didn't take any photos of the general battlefield. As always, click on the photo for a painfully detailed close-up.

Jim ran this game last Saturday. It was a fictional meeting engagement that would have occurred at Wrightsville, PA just before the battle of Gettysburg in the summer of 1863. I was finally able to attend (after missing an exciting colonials game and an 1814 Napoleonics game) with a complete Brigade of my own figures. Shiny was in attendance and was, in this instance, tasked taking the victory location: the town of Wrightsville.
A view from above as Shiny's Brigade takes the town early in the game
Initially the Confederates were slightly outnumbered by 1 brigade, though they received reinforcements late in the game. However the rebels began the game in control of the town, which turned out not to be anything beneficial. The Union forces deployed one under-strength Bde. East of town, Shiny's Bde. (including a 6 gun Battery of rifled Guns) immediately before it and a Division of 8 brigades to the West. We were opposed by one Bde (& a 6 gun mixed Battery) in the East and Center and 7 Brigades on the Confederate left (the West).
Two regiments in reserve and part of a battery of rifled guns
I can make this report simple, because the battle itself was simple. Matt's Bde. on the Union left deployed into Skirmish order over the course of the first 4 turns, but only after combining with Shiny's battery to drive off Mike's opposing rebel guns. From then on it was skirmisher against skirmisher until Matt's troops were forced back to hold their initial line. But that is what they were supposed to do and thus the Union left was kept secure while events played out elsewhere.
The rifled guns begin counter-battery fire against their rebel counterparts
The Shiny's Brigade, in the center, had very simple orders: Assault Wrightsville and hold it. Two Ohio Volunteer Infantry Units moved forward, took a small number of casualties and took the town in a short, sharp melee. They reformed in town and set-up an all around defense.

Once in the town, the Ohio regiments reform and organize an all-around defense
Once the rebel Napoleons were driven off, Shiny's rifled guns moved forward to rake the field

 For most of the game Eddie, in  the CSA center peppered the regiments in town with skirmisher fire, but right before launching his counter-attack he vollied Shiny's Boys and caused some heavy casualties. Both units pulled out of town (over the course of two turns) and were replaced by full strength reserves. Eddie then assaulted the town with 4 regiments and drove Shiny's regiments out.
 Driven from the town, an Ohio regiment (seriously reduced) pulled back to allow the reserves to assault the town. In the background is the other Ohio regiment, also preparing for another Assault.
All the while the OTHER Union division (Gary, on the right) pushed slowly and steadily against the CSA left. I never paid a lot of attention to what was going on here,even though I was the CO, because I was constantly being dragged into rules debates on the Union left (ahem). I do know that after much fighting across the Pike, the CSA had a Brigade collapse and fall back where they regrouped. Gary was able to cross the Pike and slowly drive Jim's Rebels back.
A reserve CSA Brigade arrived in mid-game, but never made it into action.
Shiny helped his lads to rally and in the last turn of the game one of his regiments retook the town. A Union (technical) victory!

Good work lads! Whisky all around!
(You'll note the grainy finish on the command stand, a high heat induced side effect I was unaware of)
The game certainly could have gone either way. The Union left was pretty weak by games end and would have eventually collapsed if pressed, but Mike, CSA right,  had taken some heavy losses as well and his reserves would have taken several more turns to really become a factor. Shiny was never shot, off the table or away from his troops, so that was good.

Anyhow, thanks Jim, for a good game! Huzzah for the Union!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More (Better) Random Thoughts on Gaming

Thomas Sherman, certainly not Shiny but love that hair!
I wrote this a week or two ago and meant to attach a graphic, but I'd better post it now. As a note of (no) interest,  Shiny will be going into battle this Saturday as long as my fookin' BACK holds out.

1. Officers and Soldiers of the American Civil War and ACW Uniform references
Having purchased the late war French uniform guide from H&C , I thought it'd be a great idea too buy vol.1 of the ACW uniforms book from the same series. It has been out of print (though maybe it's back in? see the link below)so I paid a little too much for it from a "collectible book dealer" (read shyster (this is a professional prejudice of mine)). Unfortunately I feel that though it is an admirable book in a certain way, it does not live up to my expectations. Bad points? The uniforms and flags completely lack context even though the book is presented (implicitly) as an entry level reference. I think a person using this could be badly misled into painting a lot of figures in a uniform that was extremely rare. Good Points? On the other hand if you know a little about the war, it does what it sets out to do and nicely illustrates a good sampling of representative uniforms for both sides. Personally I like these illustrations best as painting references because the colors used are BLOCK colors and you don't have to worry about interpreting how the artist is interpreting a given color. 
That being said, I still think if you were to buy just one reference for painting  it's not coming from Osprey or H&C or anyone like that, what you need is Echoes of Glory  by Time-Life Books (of all people) who have a volume each for all the relevant uniforms and equipment of the USA and CSA. It's all photographs and there's just enough text to explain things. This is what I actually go to while I'm painting. And in the US you can probably find these cheap at any decent Used bookstore.
2. Role-Playing?
No, not really. But I was thinking about my ACW project and it's context. My WWI project is made up almost entirely of figures from my own collection. So they are all precious to me. But in the ACW games I am only, currently, painting one Brigade of one side (the Union). And through a smart-ass remark by a by-stander at an early game  I have also been given a "continuing personality" to lead them in the person of "Shiny" O'Malley. Well what does this do? It makes me love my little Brigade (and their be-sotted, much wounded leader). My paint job on these figs ain't the greatest but I'm doing it how I like, with only the figs that I want and it makes me invest myself just that much more in the games. 
So what am I getting at? Well I like how "Shiny" is developing into a "character" over time. We know this about him: he likes his whiskey (and he likes your whiskey, he likes anyone's whiskey), he likes the ladies, he loves the old-country, he's a Fenian, he's a belligerent leader who'll  stand in the face of an advancing enemy line and d**n them all to h*ll (and for that he's regularly off the table with a bullet in his arse[read: he's very unlucky in the "Risk to General" rolls]). I'd like to know what's happening to him between games. Has he ever been promoted, upbraided or given a good dressing down by his superiors? I do know that in my mind he goes on to be involved in the disastrous Fenian invasion of Canada, so he must make it through the war. As you know I am very fond of the Peter Pig / RFCM style off-table campaign & scenario generating systems found in such games as AK-47 Republic, Civil War Battles and Patrols in the Sudan and (more to the point) the experience system in Chris Peers' War in the Forest....In the latter you gain points after each game toward an advancement of the player through a system of ranks, which allow you (if I'm remembering this all correctly) to gain certain small advantages over time. What's that remind us of? RPGs of course. So I might just think up a little chart system to track Shiny's life... who knows..