This is probably the last BBBB playtest I got in for 2017. I play-tested Kresna Gorge. A Bulgarian victory. I will probably have to adjust the objectives, but beyond that no other fix seems necessary to me (the 2nd Playtest should clarify things). I was surprised by how little issue the terrain created within each of the rough geographical sectors of the region. Moving between sectors is a pain, but within sectors, things were less of an issue (beyond the gorge acting as natural fort). You do get a feeling of how much of a gamble King Constantine took when he decided to strike the Kresna Gorge.
Here are some pics of the setup and battle.
Bottom of photo is east, top is west, left is north (Old Bulgaria), right is south
I would really appreciate if you would participate in this survey. I am reserraching the demand for Balkan Wars supplement for Bloody Big Battles. Answering this will help us make the best decision of how to get it to you. CLosing Day for survey is December 10th, 2017
Another updating on the play-testing of the Bloody Big Balkan Battles supplement for Bloody Big Battles. I ran a 2nd play-test of Chataldja, while Chris Pringle completed a play-test of Bizani and argues that a 2nd play-test would not be needed. I am thus considering Chataldja closed for play-testing and Bizani conditionally closed. This is an important milestone as all 1st Balkan War Scenarios have been play-tested.
Sarantaporo: 2 Playtests (Chris Pringle)-CLOSED
Dioran: 3 Playtests (Me)-CLOSED
Kilkis-Lahana: 2 Playtests (Me)-CLOSED
Lule-Burgs: 3 Playtests (2 Me, 1 Morten Kristien Andersen)-CLOSED
Kirkkilise: 2 Playtests (Chris Pringle)-CLOSED
Yiannitsa: 2 (Chris Pringle)-CLOSED
Prilep: 2 Playtest (Me, Me and Nacho)-CLOSED
Monastir 2 (Me and Morten, Me)-CLOSED
Kumanovo: 2 (Me , Me and Onur)-CLOSED
Chataldja: 2 (Me, Me and Mehmet Batuhan)-CLOSED
Bizani: 1 (Chris Pringle)-Conditional CLOSED
Kalimanchi: 1 (ME)
Kresna Gorge :0
Secret non-Scenario Project: 0
That means that there are three scenarios left to play-test (plus the secret non-Scenario project) or 5 playtests. My hope is to be done with these in the next six months.
Last Sunday we met at the Kararagh Club in Istanbul for a game of Kiss me
Hardy, the Too Fat Lardies rules for naval warfare in the Age of Sails. The
scenario was fictional inspired by the Caribbean Campaigns during the
Revolutionary Wars. During the war of the Second Coalition, somewhere close to
Les Saintes, a Spanish and French squadron try to attain junction, while the
British are trying to stop them.
There was a recent ruckus caused by this article by the owner of the very nice Baccus miniatures 6mm range. Now those of you that follow this blog know that I have dabbled in 6mm in the past, both ancient and in Napolenics, and specifically the Baccus range. Their stuff is phenomenal and worth their price. The main reason why I do 19th century in 10mm is because a) Onur preferred it b) Pendraken does a better job at covering more conflicts.
Now Baccus have been some of the most aggressive exponents of small scale gaming. And by aggressive, I mean sometimes obnoxious. There is no question that they are right that there is a 28mm bias in the industry, and among wargamers. Simply put my expectation from my anecdotal evidence is that people who game at the smaller scales are more interested in grand tactical and operational gaming. But I have found that most wargamers I have met tend to be first and fore-most adherents of the ooh shinny doctrine. This is not a good or bad thing, but it means that smaller scales will always be a niche hobby in a niche hobby. This is simply because you cannot match the painting detail of 28mm with 6mm or 10mm. Now believe me, if you have the time and skills you can do exceptional things at 6mm and 10mm (see this work of Javier for example ), but the same person could do even more amazing things with 28mm.
("Objectivity is not possible, but honesty is possible". I must be honest. The following post is written from a liberal cosmopolitan perspective. Bear that in mind. Also this is no way a through or complete treatment of the issue, nor an academic treatment. I am not writing ex cathedra here.)
The event celebrated
The protagonists on the ground for the Kingdom of Greece
“Ochi” Day (No day/ HμέραΟχί) is the state celebration for the decision of the authoritarian
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Greece, Ioannis Metaxas, to refuse the
ultimatum given to him on behalf of the authoritarian Prime Minister of the
Kingdom of Italy, Benito Mussolini, which demanded that the government off
Greece permit the entry and occupation of key geographic positions within the territory
of its dominion, by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and its Albanian
In an attempt to fight a bit my gaming/painting ennui I decide to host a game demo day at the Karargah Club. My intention was to demo SAGA, Kiss me Hardy and Perfidious Albion. In the end I ran demos of Saga and Perfidious Albion. I had a good time and remembered how much I enjoy SAGA as a system (I have not played a game in almost 4 years)
For starters I ran a 4 point Saga game with War-hammer Proxies (the club has an majority of members who play 9th Age)
Highborn Elves (Vikings) vs. Sylvan Elves (Anglo-Danish)
The start of the semester has found my war-gaming energy a bit down. On the one hand I have been very active in scenario writing and reading rules. "Rommel" by Sam Mustafa and "I aint been shot mum" by Too Fat Lardies (IABSM) have been used by me both as inspirations for WW2 gaming on the Greek front, and as ways to divert some of the current enthusiasm for Bolt Action (And secondarily Flames of War) in Turkey to what I see as superior games. As a result I wrote two scenarios for the Greek front in WW2, both concerning parts of the Battle of Pindus 27th-31st October 1940, during the initial Italian attack on Greece. One scenario is at platoon to company level for IABSM and the other is a divisional level game for "Rommel". You can find both at my scenario page.
Last year I visited Bucharest, Romania to visit a good friend. One of the sites I visited was the National Military Museum. One of the main galleries was closed. I had a chance to visit last week again, and this time the gallery I missed was open. So here you go with pictures. Covering mainly the 19th and 20th century. And jere are 421 photos for you, by me (click for larger image)
While I started war-gaming with 15mm (DBA), for a very long period I was a 28mm wargamer. Most of my friends played Warhmmaer 40k and most were committed to 28mm. But I never fully felt happy with either choice. Now-days I primarily war-game in 6-10mm scales, as I prefer either large scale operational games like BBB, or large skirmish games like IABSM (company level). I do have 28mm figures for war-gaming, the survivors of a previous era (A 1500 pts Space Marine force, and am ixed GW-Perry Minis 28mm force for Fantasy Games). But nowadays I relegate 28mm to small skirmish games (like Saga). And I collect them and paint them as collector figures, just like I used to do with 54mm figures. Here I will present some pictures of my 28mm figurine collection. There are two themes. One is the Napoleonic Era (Perry, Victrix, Foundry), and the other the Balkan Wars (Tiger Miniatures) Enjoy!
Morten helped me play-test Monastir 1912. No question it will need another one and some tweaking, but he did like in general the feel, and the fact that Balkan War battles are very different from other periods.
With Monastir, 8 of the 14 scenarios have been play-tested once. Here are some pictures
Now that my Greek and Italian forces for WW2 are done (10mm Pithead Miniatures), I decided to sit down to ran a solo game so I could grasp the basic rules. This was also a play-test for the scenario I am writing, which is based on the Action at Molista, during the Battle of Pindus on 28-30 October 1940 (scenario will be made available after one more playtesting).
The Initial Dispositions with blinds
The scenario focuses on the attempt of the 2nd Battalion "Aquila" of the 9th Alpini Regiment of the 3rd Alpini Division “Giulia” to outflank the strong defense of the Molista village by 2 companies of by Battalion I of the 51st Infantry Regiment of the Davakis Detachment. Historically "Aquila" was able to outflank the Greek forces and drive deep into the Greek positions, before Greek reinforcements counterattacked and drove them back.
Last week we met at Emir's place to start a Bloody Big Battles mini campaign. I would had preferred play-testing one of my Balkan Wars battles, but the guys were tired of balkan battles. So I put my ACW collection to use. Emir wanted Shiloh so we set it up. Emir and Doruk took command of the Confederacy, while me and Morten of the Union. The game went like the historical battle. The Confederate attack reached Pittsburg Landing, but was stopped. The Union counter-attack reached Shiloh Church, but was stopped short of taking it. Thus a draw. Emir's guns did very well capitalizing on my mistakes , which cost us two divisions. But Morten was able to well execute the plan we both had formed. We were able to flank the Confederate line at the sunken road, but alas a well placed artillery shot cost us a victory.
I am a bit sorry for not presenting a more detailed AAR, but I am burned out. You will have to suffice with the Video AAR and some pictures courtesy of Emir and Morten.
I decided to take a chance to inform you all about the progress with the Bloody Big Balkan Battles (BBB) project. Right now I am in the play-testing period, with help from Chris Pringle. Our goal is to make sure each of the scenario gets play-tested twice and if possible more times. Right now the situation is as follows
The counterpart to my Greeks for 1940 are there Italians enemies. Once more 10mm Pithead Miniatures. I have enough forces for a two Platoon Company with various supports.
The Pithead Italians are the same figures as the Greeks with minor changes. They painted fast. I do think I glued the artillery guns, gunshield's, upside down.
With the two forces done time is to used them. I wrote a small scenario based on the Action at Molista during the greater Battle of Pindus. So my men will have to proxy for Alpini. I will try it out solo to learn the rules, than play once with the guys, and then upload it here and at the Two Fat Lardies Yahoo Group.
Onur, Emir, Morten and I met up on the 8th of July to do a Bloody Big Battles game, on the occasion of Morten's visit to Istanbul. Since Onur ever had the chance until know to use his Serbian 10mm Army in a game, we decided to revisit the Battle of Aleksinac during the Serbo-Ottoman War of 1876-1877. This is a scenario we had done before, but with proxies for the Serbs.
In that game I had played the Serbs and had been soundly trounced by Onur and Emir. This time Onur and Morten took the role of the Serbian commanders, while I took the role of Abdul Kerim Pasha, Ottoman commander, with Emir taking the role of the subordinate commander Ali Saib Pasha.
My war plan was simple. rather than attacking headlong the strong defensive positions of the Serbs on Golgovicha and Sumatovach, I would demonstrate against them, and sent part of the forces to cross the difficult terrain from the north-east, and sent a strong augmented force under Emir west of the Morava to strike at Trnjani. Once these objectives were taken we could focus if needed on Aleksinac itself. The plan was completely my responsibility, with Emir having the task of executing part of it. I was taking a major calculated risk with the decision to try and outflank the Serbs from the East, as the ground was very broken. But I believed it was a rational gamble.
My plan, Serbian dispositions, and how the battle went (click for bigger picture)
Well I finally painted a Danish 1864 force in miniature. This force is built for Bloody Big Battles, and specifically for the Duppel and Oversee scenarios. This army will be going to our friend Emir, as part of the building process of armies for a "Bismarck's Wars" BBB campaign.
I have always liked the idea of the 1864 2nd Schleswig-Holstein War. Partly due to the dynastic ties between Denmark and Greece, partly due to the story of a minor power getting itself into trouble, partly due the cautionary tale of the perils of nationalism. Also I like the Danish uniform (greatcoats!), and there a many images, like the one below that are evocative.
It just dawned to me I never made a post about my 10mm Ottoman Army. This was because I was waiting to finish its extension to the Balkan Wars, which is now done. Thus this project is now done. The force is all 10mm figures from Pendraken. It has been assembled and painted to permit me to use it for the 1875-1878 wars, the 1897 Greek-Ottoman War, and the 1st Balkan War. The fact that in the Ottoman armies of the era, redif(reserve) units would be dressed in older uniforms and nizam (regular) units in newer uniforms helps recycle figures.
My first uniform book was a coloring book about the American Revolution. But perhaps the strongest effect were the uniform plates Tony Wold (pseudonym of Antonio Lupatelli) 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.