Not Quite the Seven Years War (in Miniature)

Some years ago, Rob got us all started on Not Quite the Seven Years War, a project involving 54mm home-cast figures and using Charge! as the rules.  Each of the HAWKs made up a country.  Mine is Bergdorfreuthenheim (Berg, dorf, reuth, and heim all mean “small village” or something similar in German.)  In 54mm, the line infantry of my army was dressed in olive coats and khaki trousers.  There were seven facing colors that rotate between regiments, the 1st and 8th having the same facing colors.  The first regiment, pictured, has bright blue facings.

Today's Project
Today's Project

Chris has been trying to convince folks to recreate their armies in 10mm for use with some variant of Look, Sarge.  As part of his campaign, he gave me a regiment and a couple of guns to paint.  This weekend, I painted them and mounted them.

A closeup of the first regiment
A closeup of the first regiment

Notice that the drummer’s colors are reverses, his coat being the facing color of the rest of the regiment.  There are 21 regiments in the Bergdorfreuthenheim army, 14 line and 7 light.  The facing colors are as follows:

  • 1, 8, 15:  bright blue
  • 2, 9, 16:  red
  • 3, 10, 17: light green
  • 4, 11, 18: yellow
  • 5, 12, 19: medium blue
  • 6, 13, 20: orange
  • 7, 14, 21: light gray
The entire strength of the Bergdorfreuthenheim artillery
The entire strength of the Bergdorfreuthenheim artillery

Artillery pieces are painted in the same bright blue as the facings on the 1, 8, and 15th regiments.  All artillerists wear black uniforms to hide the dirt and soot of firing the guns.  Facings for foot artillery are green.  Facings for horse artillery are yellow.

Once I finish my Russians cavalry (that should arrive soon!), I plan will likely order 5 bags of Old Glory Marlborough line infantry (MAL 102) and command (MAL 101) to finish out my infantry.

Vending Machines for Granville

In previous posts I’ve shown pictures of the town of Granville I’ve been building up over several years for pulp games.  I recently purchased more of the Litko buildings and have put a few more on my Christmas list.  With another six buildings, the town will be big enough for anything I want to do.  I’ve begun to focus my attention on other details.  In a recent post, I showed the sidewalks I built for the town.  I’ve also got some playground equipment I need to assemble and paint for the park.  This morning while cooking breakfast I made some vending machines to place around town.

Vending Machines for Granville
Vending Machines for Granville

The Coke machine was posted by someone on TMP within the past month or so.  Ever since, I’ve wanted to make additional machines.  You can see a Candy machine (tan), cigarette machine (aqua), and Vernor’s Ginger Ale machine (yellow).  I built these in PowerPoint with some images I found on the Internet.  While I really dislike assembling paper models, I think these won’t be too bad.  I also made some manhole covers to place in the streets.

I really wanted to make machines like this, but just couldn’t get that level of detail in PowerPoint without significantly more effort.

HAWKS Gaming Night and Additional Thoughts on WWII Skirmish Rules

I don’t have any pictures, but last night we played two different WWII scenarios for the upcoming Fall In gaming convention.  One involved Japanese and Marines slugging it out on Saipan, and the other involved Germans and Russians on the Eastern Front.  I played in the Saipan game and had a very good time with the very light Japanese tanks trying to get to the beaches to destroy the Marines’ equipment and supplies.  My daughter said that the Russian Front game went really well on the other table.  Both game used Look, Sarge, No Charts:  World War II.

After the game, I had a chance to sit and chat with Don and Dave about my WWII skirmish rules I’ve been developing.  (See several earlier posts.)  Don, who plays a lot of Battleground had some good ideas for the vehicle rules.  Then we talked about morale.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, while I’m pretty happy with the direct fire and need more testing on the HE weapons, I’ve not been satisfied with morale.

I had gone away from one morale check per morale pip as in the Look, Sarge series and went to a single morale check that used the number of accrued morale pips as a modifier.  It worked okay, but the result didn’t seem dramatic or fun.  Last night I hit on a different idea in which you draw one card per morale pip and apply the results.  The table below provides my current thinking on the text of the cards and the number of each.

Card Type Flavor Text Game Effect Num Cards
1 “This place ain’t healthy, Sarge” Figure with lowest Guts runs 10″ toward cover or away from enemy, becomes stunned 3
2 “I’m getting’ outta here!” Figure with lowest Guts runs off the table, removed from the game 1
3 “Take cover!” Number of figures equal to remaining number of morale pips run 10″ toward cover or away from enemy, become stunned 1
4 “… Fight again another day.” Number of figures equal to remaining number of morale pips run off the table, removed from the game 1
5 “@$#%! That was close!” Figure with lowest Guts is stunned 3
6 “@$#%! That was close!” Random figure is stunned 2
7 “This place ain’t healthy, Sarge” Random figure runs 10″ toward cover or away from enemy, becomes stunned 2
8 “I’m getting’ outta here!” Random figure runs off the table, removed from the game 2
9 “Lemme at ’em!” Figure with highest Guts runs toward enemy 1
10 “Take this, you dirty rats!” Figure with highest Guts fires at nearest enemy 2
11 “Snap out of it!” Figure with highest Guts unstuns nearest figure 2
12 “Follow me, men!” Squad leader rallies troops; all stun markers removed 2
13 “Worse than we thought…” Random wounded soldier dies of wounds 2
14 Go to ground; all figures in unit are stunned 3
15 Bad luck! Squad leader is hit by a stray round while trying to rally troops; flip a card for hit location 1
16 “Let’s go!” Unit charges toward enemy 1
17 “Let’s go!” Unit charges toward enemy, but figure with lowest Guts lags behind, stunned 1
18 “Take cover, men.” Unit is pinned 4
19 “Those guys are bums!” No effect; elite unit passes remaining morale checks 10
20 “Those guys are bums!” No effect; regular unit passes remaining morale checks 5
21 “Those guys are bums!” No effect; green unit passes remaining morale checks 1
22 2

How does the Guts level (i.e., morale grade) of the unit benefit you?  Note that on the no effect cards, some are tagged with something like, “elite unit passes remaining morale checks.”  When this card is drawn for an elite unit making a morale check, all the remaining morale pips would be removed, and play continues.  There are 10 of these for Elite units, five for Regular units, and just one for Green units.  I’m worried that this will now bog down the game by taking too long to resolve, but I’ll have to see how it works in practice.

I’ve also been working on a little tool that will help generate semi-random squads for the game.  Below is an excerpt from the Excel workbook I’ve been using.

The notion is that you can set the overall, or average, Guts, Accuracy, Melee, Endurance, and Reaction ratings for the half squad.  Then the tool, using some random numbers and some formulas I built, varies the attributes of the individual figures so that they have some personalization.  The “Need Adjustment” box tracks how the player needs to continue to adjust the numbers so that the half squad still has an average rating equal to what was specified at the beginning.  For instance in the Guts box, note that Figure 3’s Guts is one better than the rest of his unit.  To ensure that the unit retains the correct average Guts rating, the player must subtract one from one of the other soldiers.  As a rule of thumb, you cannot adjust a figure who is different than the base unless you have no option (i.e., all the soldiers were modified).

I’m looking forward to another play test in two weeks.

In the meantime, Noah built a simple app for his Android phone that draws the cards for you.  One of the challenges we had in the last play test was the single deck of cards.  I’ve been hesitant to make multiple decks, since I keep changing them.  I’m working on a similar app for the iPhone.  At some point, the players can have the latest version of the cards to use on the table without having to pass a single deck around.

This Weekend’s Projects

Five Pulp Dangerous Dames
Five Pulp Dangerous Dames

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, while I await the arrival of a big box of Old Glory 10mm Napoleonic figures, I’ve been picking away at odds and ends sitting in the project box.  I finished this batch over two weekends.  Above are five figures from Pulp Figures’ Dangerous Dames 2.

Five Pulp seamen
Five Pulp seamen

These are some Pulp seamen/sailors along with some deck guns that I also think are from Pulp Figures.

Five Pulp sailors
Five Pulp sailors

Some sailors to wander around town looking for trouble or stand around on the deck of a gunboat looking pretty.

Four Old Glory 19th Century figures I found in a flea market bin
Four Old Glory 19th Century figures I found in a flea market bin

I’ve had these sitting in the project box for a couple of years.  I think they are all from Old Glory.  I must have picked them up in a flea market.  That’s the only reason I could think I had a handful of them rather than a whole bag.

Three fantasy females of unknown origin
Three fantasy females of unknown origin

I’m not even sure why I picked up these figures except to use as “objectives” in a pirate barroom brawl game.  I’m sure they were in one of the boxes full of figures that you buy by weight from Iron Wind at the HMGS East conventions.

Two hikers of unknown manufacture
Two hikers of unknown manufacture

These are neat figures.  Again, I have no idea of the manufacturer.  They are both carrying swords so I’m sure they are meant for fantasy role playing.

Painting Some Odds and Ends

I’ve put in a large order of Old Glory 10mm Napoleonic figures, but while I’m waiting for them to arrive, I’ve been attacking some odds and ends sitting in my project box.  Usually right after a convention, I file, bases, and prime the figures I picked up at that convention.  They then sit in my project box and are ready to paint when the mood strikes me.

The above figure is some sort of Games Workshop somethingorother that I picked up at NASHCON.  I thought the mounted Gatling gunner would make a cool addition to a GASLIGHT game.  The figure was painted when I got it in the flea market, but I repainted it.

Bare sidewalk section for Granville
Bare sidewalk section for Granville

From previous posts, you can see that I have spent several years building up a nice-sized town for my pulp games.  Each building, however, either has no sidewalk or has its own sidewalk section that goes all the way around it.  The result is that the town doesn’t quite look so much like a main street as a series of disjointed buildings.  I decided to cut some large sections from 1/4-inch plywood, paint sidewalks, and flock the centers.  The flocking in the center is meant to be alleyway or vacant lot.

Two buildings, one from Litko and one scratch built, on the sidewalk board
Two buildings, one from Litko and one scratch built, on the sidewalk board

In this picture you can see how two buildings look sitting on the boards.  The buildings aren’t of uniform size, so some will have a flocking “back yard.”  I need another coat of flocking on the boards, but I think the overall effect is about right.

Sleeping Mexican
Sleeping Mexican

This was another flea market find that will go nicely in one of my cowboy games.

PGS-17 Pulp Figures German colonial Maxim gunners
PGS-17 Pulp Figures German colonial Maxim gunners

I bought these at Historicon to go with my other Pulp Figures colonial Germans.

These are from the re-issued pack of rugged heroes.

So are these.  Today the kids have homework, so I’ll probably work on a few more sets of Pulp Figures that are sitting in the project box.  I’m hoping they finish their homework in time that I can put them through a quick WWII game with the rules I’ve been developing.

Play Test of WWII Skirmish Rules

Last night at the HAWKs meeting there were two games.  One was a Union So Tested American Civil War fight.  From what I could tell it was quite a good scenario.  The second game was another (only the second) play test of the WWII skirmish rules I’ve been developing.  Noah, Duncan, Chris, and Don were my guinea pigs.

The scenario was a simple meeting engagement in which both sides were fighting for control of the road intersection in the center of the table.  It perhaps wasn’t an interesting, but I wanted to get the players engaging each other quickly.

The game confirmed that the firing mechanics worked well.  (See previous posts about the card-based combat resolution mechanisms I’ve been developing.)  I may double the weapons ranges.  Right now an M-1 rifle shoots about 36 inches.  In Beer and Pretzels Skirmish I used shooting ranges that were closer to figure scale, but players didn’t seem to like the idea they could shoot across the whole board. Food for thought.

I knew something wasn’t working for activation.  I’ve been using a mechanic similar to the Look, Sarge series, except with many more cards, because I wanted elite and regular units to, in general, activate more frequently than green units.  The down sides were that turns are significantly longer, players don’t get the sense of passage of time, it’s almost impossible to recover from being pinned, and other drawbacks.  For the next test, I’m going to go closer to Look, Sarge, with cards numbered 1 to 6 in red and also in black.  I’ll add an “elite” card.  When that card is drawn, elite units with the same number as the last number called will activate.  So SOME elite units will get two activations in a row.  This is both simpler and addresses some of the issues noted.

Movement worked fine.

I had recently revamped the morale rules, but it didn’t seem that players every failed morale.  In fact most players didn’t even fear the morale checks.  I think what I forgot to take into account is number of figures lost more heavily.  When a figure is wounded or killed, the unit picks up a morale pip.  To pass you subtract the number of morale pips from your “Guts number.”  This difference has to be greater than the target number on the card.  I think I want to make the following change.  In stead of accruing one morale pip for each wound or incapacitate result, you will accrue one per wound and three for each incapacitate.  This should result in more morale failures, which will enable me to test the morale failure mechanics better.

Finally, I’m not sure that I’m happy with the unit record sheets.  On them you track wounds on your figures, but it’s hard to remember to look at the card when shooting, because wounded figures have a negative columns shift.  I won’t make any changes to that just yet, but it’s on my list to revisit later.

Don tried to test rifle grenades, but he “rolled” poorly each time and scattered in a bad direction, so we never got to see how the new mechanics worked.

In general, I’m happy with the way the rules are shaping up.

New Pulp Figures Completed

The Volcano Queen sending a captive to certain death
The Volcano Queen sending a captive to certain death to appease the volcano gods

We had a nice relaxing Sunday, which gave me time to complete a few figures I purchased at Historicon.  Except for the 10mm Napoleonic project, I don’t have a major painting project right now, so I’m picking away at my mountain of unpainted lead that built up over the Summer.

The advantage of these small projects is that I can finish them in a weekend; whereas, several battalions of 10mm Napoleonic troops take a whole weekend.

I have also been talking about writing a jousting / tournament game.  One of the HAWKs, Greg, found these toys.  I repainted them this weekend as well.  I think they came out well.

Completed some of the Reaper Bones Kickstarter Figures

Some Reaper Bones civilians
Some Reaper Bones civilians

As Reaper posted their second Bones Kickstarter project this week, I was reminded that I hadn’t painted any of the first batch.  I really only wanted about half of what was in the Kickstarter deal, but half was enough to make the deal worthwhile.  I traded some figures with others in the HAWKs and sold another batch at Historicon, retaining the ones I really wanted.  I took advantage of being furloughed to take care of some needed “honey do’s” around the house and also work on some of the Reaper figures.


Some weeks back I posted that I was working on a Victorian version of the Marvel Avengers.  The only Avenger I was missing was Thor.  Someone online suggested a blacksmith.  I converted one of the Reaper blacksmith figures to be Thor.  He’s the one on the left in the picture below.


I considered making the apron red, like Thor’s cape, but that looked goofy, so I made his pants red instead.

Victorian Avengers facing a giant crab

Here is a view of the complete Avengers group in action against a giant crab.  The front row, from left to right:  Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, and Hawkeye.  The back row, from left to right:  the Hulk and Iron Man.

Heroine or Wizard

I’m not sure how this figure became part of the handful I pulled from the box, but since she was on the table, she got painted.

Grave Diggers
Grave Diggers

I tried to be a bit artistic with these.  I wanted them to look as if they were being lit by the lanterns.  The effect was not nearly as good as I had hoped.

Dungeon Explorers
Dungeon Explorers

I really like the two figures on the right.  They depict the typical dungeon delver, heavily laden with weapons and treasure.

Why so many duplicates?  You can never have too many townspeople, so one of my Kickstarter add-ons was a second set of civilians.

Eskimo Cavalry

At Historicon, these figures called to me.  They are Eskimo cavalry riding polar bears and some sort of yak-like animal produced by Sergeant Major’s Miniatures.  I just had to have them to add to my Northland Adventures collection.

The mounts were cast in two pieces.  The rider’s right hands were separate and had to be glued onto the arms.  I am looking forward to seeing them in a game.