My first uniform book was a coloring book about the American Revolution. But perhaps the strongest effect were the uniform plates Tony Wold did for the book "The Book of History", part of a series of children books done in many languages . This was written by Giuseppe Zanini and we had the greek version. It was a joy of a book, and together with the series "The Ancient Peoples", probably made me a bookworm. One of my favorite things were the full page uniform plates. These got me interested in uniforms and down the way into military history, military figurines, and in the end wargaming. Here are the full page plates (click for larger picture).
I have a soft spot for the rules systems of the Two Fat Lardies. Perhaps the best fun for my money I ever got was the combination of Kiss me Hardy with Valiant 1:2000 Napoleonic Ships. Lots of fun was had. I am aware of the rest of their rule systems as well, but it never happened that I wanted to do a period that was covered by them. The exception was WW1, and I tried to steer Mehemt towards using the systems created by the Two Fat Lardies for it, but Mehmet decided he wanted to try his had at rules design. This is totally defensible, and a good decision, and the resulting rules "Trial by Fire" are worth a look. The second chance has been World War 2.
I finished another project, which is the 10mm Pendraken Miniatures Confederate States force for the American Civil War. The force will be primarily used for Bloody Big Battles, though it can of course be used for other rules as well (the excellent Altar of Freedom systems for example, and perhaps Longstreet with its role-playing elements). The flags are mix of my own works and a flag sheet kindly given to me by Stone Mountain Miniatures (who have an excellent ACW 15mm range).
This army is a matched pair with my previously completed USA army for the same war. I am almost done with my 19th Century Collections. I have a Ottoman 1877,1897, 1912 Army with two matched pairs for it, Greeks 1897, and Russians 1877/8. I now have a ACW matched pair. The final army I will make, is the army I always wanted, a 1866 Austrian Army. After that time to move on to other periods or projects.
The army was painted to a basic war-gaming level. But I am satisfied with how it came out. Here are some, problematic quality, photos.
It has been a bit of a while since I updated the blog. With
the end of the Last Century of the Ottomans BBB Campaign we all took a bit of a
break from heavy miniature war gaming. Well as a group. I did get a game in,
participating in a large 9th Age (Warhammer derived game) game at
the Karargah Club. I used my Perry heavy late medieval army as empire. While my
side lost, my army in general gave a good showing. You can see a video here
Beyond that I am heavily playtesting the Bloody Big Battles Balkan War
scenarios. Two of them have been play-tested more than once, and two only once. So there is a lot
of work to do. Any help would be very appreciated.
These two last weeks I used BBB battles as active learning components in my IR 311: Wars Beyond Europe course. You can read more about the educational part at a post at the blog Stohasmoi: What do We know about IR.
While I ran Tuyuti and Tacna, the Tuyuti scenario did not work. There are clear balance issues that need to be fixed by me (As the creator). Fixes I am thinking towards is a) making duration longer b) giving the Parguyans a general.
Tacna on the other hand went very well. 3 students took the role of the Chileans, while two took the role of the Allies. I used the 6 turn variant (A fix for the asymmetry of the original scenario and it worked well). In general the Chilean palyers were more unfamiliar with war-games and thus were too cautious. The Allied players are more familiar with war-games and also friends and thus were able to coordinate better. Thus the game ended with the first victory of the Allies in a BBB Tacna scenario, with the Chileans only taking 1 of 4 objectives.
Yesterday, me and Onur, joined by Emir later on, played the last scenario in our Last Century of the Ottomans Bloody Big Battles Campaign. This was the battle of Domokos during the Greek-Ottoman War of 1897 (also called the "Unlucky" war by Greeks). We played the game at the Karargah Club grounds at Atashehir in Istanbul.
Prince Constantine ,CnC of the Greeks forces riding towards the front line at Domokos.
With friends organised via the Diavivastis Facebook page, we got together for an evening of war-games at the hospitable Kaissa Peristeriou. We played a game of Kiss me Hardy, and I introduced them to To the Last Man, a Theater level war-game for the Western front in World War 1.
In Kiss me Hardy Yiannis and Panagiotis were given command of two British 74 guns ships, the HMS Thunderer, and the HMS Revenge. Against them I took command of the 130 gun Spanish ship Santissima Trinidad. So a classical game of British pluck vs. Spanish power.
The Spanish had the goal of escaping from the British, while the British had the usual; "sink-capture-drive from the seas" the enemy ship.
The opening scene. The Santissima is close to you, the two british ships further back.
The penultimate Bloody Big Battles scenario for our Last Century of the Ottomans is the small scenario of Velestino. This was one of the two only victories the Greek army was able to get in the Greek-Ottoman war of 1897. Emir and Doruk came on the Monday after Metcka/Tristenik so we could make up for their absence. They took command of the Ottoman forces while I took command of the Greek. The battle that followed was a quick one. Emir and Doruk were unable to complete the reconnaissance in force that would release their reinforcements. As a result they were not able to threaten the Greek position. This led to a Greek victory.
On Sunday the 19th I met with Onur at the new Kararagh Club grounds in Atashehir. Emir was also supposed to come, but alas the exigencies of the PhD took precedence. Bekir, one of the members of the club wanted to also play BBB so he was quickly conscripted! We decided to continue our Last Century of the Ottomans Campaign. The next scenario up was the Battle of Metcka/Tristenik in the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877. This is the last BBB scenario on the 1877-1878 Russo-Ottoman War. It sees the armies under the control of Suleiman Pasha (of Shipka infamy) attempt to break through the defensive perimeter created by the Russian forces under Tsarevich Alexis (Alexander III). This Russian force protected the flank of the main Russian adavance. This flank rested on the Black Lom River.
A useful Bulgarian map of the operations.
Bekir and Onur had the honor of commanding the Ottoman forces on attack, while I took command of the bayonets of mother Russia. Both of us used our 10mm Pendraken Collections.
I have always had a hate-love relationship with the War-hammer universe. I like the fluff and many of the auxiliary games, and had always had wanted to play the actual main games. And I did. But when I did that I came away with mixed feelings. There are things I like, and things I detest. The game thrives on the micro narratives of small units (the epic last stand etc), but fails to provide coherent narratives for the whole battle. It is also very random at the smaller level of points, which means that if you want to diminish the randomness you have to commit to an obscene amount of miniatures. And of course the whole new edition every two years does not work for me. That said I have never been fully able to give up the "drug" as one could say. And if a friend asks for a game, I will happily oblige.
So this Sunday I went to Karargah Club in Turkey and their new venue, invited by Onur for a game of 9th Age. 9th Age is one of the fan-created alternatives to the 8th Edition War-hammer, which were created in reaction to the Age of Sigmar transformation of the game. It is a more streamlined version of the 8th Edition.
I also visited Fort McHnery, the battle over which in the War of 1812 led to the creation of the song "The Star Spangled Banner" that would one day become the national anthem of the US (I still prefer Hail Columbia):p This was a nice museum and the fort is well kept in its 19th century form. I loved the Rohdan guns!
I also visited the lightship Chesapeake and the tiny Civil War Museum. The Civil War musuem was a bit too small, though it was well laid out considering the history of the country. It had a good bookshop but it was closed the day I visited :(
I attended the annual ISA (International Studies Association) at Baltimore and took advantage of the visit to explore the history of the place. I visited the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, the Light House Chesapeake, Fort McHenry and the tiny Civil War Museum. Here are the pictures and video I took of the USS Constellation. This is the first tall ship I ever had a chance to visit and it was pretty cool.
The above is the video of fire practice, as well as me showing off my friend Emir how the american percussion cap system worked.
One of the biggest issue when making the scenarios based on the 1st and 2nd Balkan War for Bloody Big Battles, was the lack of good detailed maps. Since all sides expected to fight again over the same terrain, most of the maps in Staff histories, and thus on the secondary works that build on them, are sketch maps. The solution was to consolidated textual information and sketch maps with the 1:200000 scale survey maps created by the Austro-Hungarian military in 1910.
This permitted me to plot the sketch maps on terrain maps, and thus create the scenario maps. It also permits as for the first time as the public to actually see the relation of movements with terrain.
As an example here is my work on consolidating 5 different sources for building the most detailed map I can for the Battle of Kresna Gorge.
I decided to plot, approximately the area covered by me BBB Balkan Wars scenarios on the broader campaigns. This will show people how much of the campaign is actually covered, and where those battles took place and their relations to each other. They also should provide people with a filling of how different the campaigns were.
Yesterday we got a chance to continue our Bloody Big Battles Campaign, Last Century of the Ottomans. Onur, who had been caught up with the move of the Kararagh Club from their old cite to a new locale, finally had a chance to play. We also introduced a new player to the game, Murat. Emir and Doruk were supposed to come, but alas they were caught up in PhD work.
I took the chance of good weather in Athens and visited the Maritime Museum of Greece in Piraeus. This is the last major military museum of Athens that I had not visited (the War Museum, the National History Museum, and the Armored Cruiser Averoff have been visited. Use the "Museums" label to see the posts on those.)
The museum is bit hard to get to from the center of the city, but easy if you came to Athen's via sea at the Piraeus port. You need to get to the port, and then take the 904 or 300 City Bus to either Plateia Fredyttou, or Tzaneio Hospital. A taxi can also take you there. It is close to the ZEA Marina.
It is cheap to get in (4 Euros, 2 Euros specials). The Museum is not large. About an hour will fully cover it. But it has a lot of cool artifacts, and especially ship models. The book store is full of good stuff, most in greek, but some in english, all in very cheap prices.
The electircal railway stop at Pireaus
The outside of the museum. The sea in the front, and across the Ellinikon-Faliron-Voula areas
The first game of 2017 was with my old friend Chris. We played a ad-hoc scenario using our 6mm Bacchus Napoleonic French and Prussian forces using vanilla Bloody Big Battles rules. I set up the map, and the OOBs. Essentially a French Army made up of three corps (1 French Infantry, 1 Italian Infantry, 1 Cavalry) and one Prussian Army (A Korps of Infantry and Cavalry, and a Korps of Cavalry) met in a meeting engagement. There were 5 objectives. The side that held the most at the end of 7 turns of gaming would win. The French started with the Cavalry Corps on table, while the Prussians with the Infantry/Cavalry Korps. The other forces would arrive on T2.