Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap-Up

Well, another year is gone!  Hurrah!  This past year has been not so good to my state what with several tornadoes, including one which almost completely wiped out a small town, and a monster flood on the Mississippi River.  I hope the weather is not quite so bad in 2012.

I've played and/or run a large number of games this year -- 28 with my local wargaming group, 1 at the small HUBCON convention in Hattiesburg, 5 at our regional Bayou Wars convention in New Orleans, 4 at the 1st Annual Colonial Barracks convention in New Orleans, 1 rules play test with Lord Sterling, and 1 rules play set with my son.  That comes to 40 games!!

I've painted 383 "Olley" points of figures and equipment, plus 8 25/28mm sized buildings, and a number of trees.  Figures have included Seven Years War era imagi-nations, French and Indian War, Between the Wars Back of Beyond, Victorian colonial Darkest Africa, African animals, and "Pulp" fiction.  It has been a fairly busy painting year with a high in April of 91 points and a low in October of 3 points.  By the way, an "Olley" point, for the uninitiated, is one foot figure, one rider, one mount/animal, or one gun or wagon.

Our group's last game of the year was fought today, Saturday, December 31.  "Electric" Ed ran an introduction to Uncharted Seas for us.  I commanded on of the Orc flotillas.  Even though our side lost, by a slim margin, I beat up on my opponent's Dwarf flotilla.

My Orc flotilla - one battleship, one assault battlecruiser, three cruisers, and three frigates

As one of my cruisers rams a dwarf cruiser, the other two bombard him.  We sank this one!

After an ineffectual ram, the crew of my battleship boards the dwarf battleship and slaughters the defenders.  I scored 13 hits (6s are double hits) on his crew against only his 5 on mine.  This prize will be a welcome addition to the Orc fleet, once we can figure out how to operate the infernal machine!  No one said orcs were smart!!
There will be a battle report soon on the Jackson Gamers blog.  Big John will also be posting pictures on his Nomadic Old School Gamer's blog once he gets back to Arkansas tomorrow.

And to all my readers, I would like to wish you are yours a healthy and prosperous new year.  And here are some fireworks to close out the year.


and Natural:

A Fire Rainbow

The Northern Lights

Monday, December 26, 2011

Newly Painted "Pulp" Figures

I just finished a batch of various "pulp" era figures.  Some of these had been laying around for a while and a few were brand-new arrivals.  Without further ado:

A group of four British "bobbies" led by a sergeant.  Three of the four are armed with "night sticks" while the fourth has a "new fangled" electric torch.  I cannot recall the manufacturer so anyone with an idea, please leave a comment.

Three of these four figures are from Artizan Designs "Knights of the Crescent Moon" pack and are armed with a pistol (2) or a submachinegun (1).  But the leader is from a different manufacturer and if anyone can place him, please leave a comment.

Maude, the missionary's wife (left), and Charlotta, her adventurous sister (right), both from the Copplestones "female archaeologists" pack.  My good wife provided the fashion advice with the color schemes.  As usual, she got them both just right.

But when danger threatens, they immediately assume their "alter ego" guises, armed with high-powered semi-automatic pistols.  You just don't fool around with these sisters!  They are also from the Copplestones "female archaeologists" pack.

Another look at Maude in her two guises.

And at Charlotta in her two guises.

These three ladies are very dangerous dames.  On the left is Elle Woods (from Legally Blonde) in her big game hunting outfit.  In the center is "Cara Loft," that well armed and dashing "tomb raider."  And on the right is Fiona (Burn Notice) with her high powered rifle, looking for someone to shoot.

And finally we see all of them together, joined by the missionary (center) and the huntress Ruby Maye Loveless.  Together they constitute the Justice Union League against International Espionage and Terrorism (JULIET).
I thought I would have a little fun with these rather disparate figures, grouping them into a 1920s/1930s predecessor of such 1960s organizations as CONTROL and U.N.C.L.E.  Some of them will see play in my 1930s back of beyond China game for Bayou Wars this summer.  Others may appear in other games during the year, maybe even in Bill's and my "Mayan Adventure" game planned for Colonial Barracks in November.

Maybe over the coming year I can obtain some opponents for them, such as a 1920s/1930s CHAOS or THRUSH.  Hummmm, some of Copplestones excellent Russian Civil War Soviet character packs would work.  We'll just have to see.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011 at the Barracks - Part 2

On this day, all of us at Col Campbell's Barracks wish you and yours

Very Merry Christmas


A Happy and Prosperous New Year !!!

Christmas Tree at Col Campbell's Barracks

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 2011 at the Barracks

Two years ago, I brought you some scenes from the Christmas activities at the Mississippi Archives where I work.

Christmas Trees:    Antebellum
                             Depression Era

Trains at the Archives:    Possum Ridge

This year we added a new tree:

And the trains are still running at Possum Ridge, our fictitious Mississippi town:

The lovely Rachel from our Museum division watches as the chief engineer works on an engine.
A young visitor watches the Illinois Central's City of New Orleans as it passes on its way down to the sea.  The orange and black three unit train immediately behind the Ice House is the Rebel, a Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio fast passenger train.
The monuments in Possum Ridge's town park, including one (left rear) to the town's namesake.  A hobo catches a nap on the park bench.
One of the newer acquisitions to Possum Ridge's economy is a cotton gin on the outskirts of town.
The gin is supplied by one of the many cotton fields prevalent in Mississippi.
Another new "addition" to Possum Ridge's economy is carefully hidden behind a kudzu draped abandoned house located far from prying official eyes.
On the other side of town, members of the local Missionary Baptist Church welcome new members to their flock.
The lovely Rachel tries her hand at steam engine repair under the watchful eye of the chief engineer.
For more information and pictures of the Possum Ridge layout and buildings, please take a visit to our department's blog, A Sense of Place.  If you are interested, you may subscribe to notices of new blog postings.

And for a final look at Christmas at the Archives, the tree that is present year round in the work area where I spend my time.  This tree is appropriately decorated for other times of the year, such as Mardi Gras, Easter, etc.

Yes, it is sitting in a large trash can since the stand that came with it broke several years ago.

And so once again from all of us at Col. Campbell's Barracks, we wish you a


and a

Very  Happy  and  Prosperous  New  Year !!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dwarfs at the Barracks!!

Yes, Col. Campbell has moved towards the dark side, with two 12-figure units of dwarven infantry and a leader-priest dwarf.

Well, just kidding about moving towards the dark.  I've had these dwarfs for a number of years.  They are from the now defunct Mega Miniatures USA [edited 01/23/2015].

The dwarf leader-priest in his flame outfit.  He is holding a sacred lizard.

Der Blauetotenkopfverband (The Blue Death's Head Unit)

Der Grunetotenkopfverband (The Green Death's Head Unit)

Both of the units were used in our wargame group's medieval battle on Saturday, Dec. 17.  We used the venerable Rules by Ral and rated the dwarfs as foot knights.

The Blues advanced and attacked an enemy unit of human foot knights.  On the advance they took some casualties from archery fire.  And my abysmal die rolling resulted in them being beaten by the human knights.  The Greens never got in the action as my leader, James the Weak, couldn't roll high enough to "energize" more than 2 or 3 units a turn.  Oh well, the game was fun even though our side ended up losing.

A battle report will be forthcoming, either on the Jackson Gamers web site or the Jackson Gamers blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" -- Part 1

In response to a question about where our father was stationed during WW2 from my younger brother, I did some more examination of his "flight diary."  My father kept a small notepad in which he recorded very basic information about the bombing missions he flew as a flight engineer and top turret gunner of a B-17 assigned to the 731st Bombardment Squadron, 452nd Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, from November 24, 1944 through May 6, 1945.  They were based at Deopham Green Air Base (link).  He flew a total of 29 missions, 27 of them were combat and 2 were humanitarian.  The targets were throughout Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, etc.) and France (German enclaves along Atlantic Coast).  The two humanitarian missions were in early May 1945, delivering food to Amsterdam.  He called them "chow hound" missions.  His plane and crew left England on June 29, 1945, and flew back to the USA via the Azores.  They were in the midst of transitioning to B-29s at Sioux Falls Army Air Base, South Dakota, when the Pacific War ended.

In the back of the notepad, my father had drawn his B-17:

The Square L was the tail symbol of the 752nd group

To give you a little better perspective of his in-flight duties, I can highly recommend the movie The Memphis Belle.  My father told me one time that, like the crew of the Memphis Belle, he had to crank down the landing gear by hand.  

One of the two planes in which he flew (the "Sweet Sue") was shot up on a bombing mission against Darmstadt on December 24.  They were extremely low on fuel and had to make an emergency landing at Laon, France, where they spent Christmas before being flown back to their base on December 27.

I will probably be posting more as I do a better examination of his flight diary and compare it to the history of the squadron and group.

And for those who are interested, is making their WW2 records available free of charge until midnight on December 7.  link 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 4

Here is the final report of my participation in the First Annual Colonial Barracks All-The Sword and the Flame Convention, held back on Nov. 4-7 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  This final group of pictures covers the game I ran on Saturday morning -- The Lion and the Gazelle -- using The Sword in Africa variant of TSATF rules.

And now, without further ado, let us join the trek into Darkest Africa where British led askaris battle rogue bull elephants; white hunters are out for just about any kind of trophy; and Zanzabari slavers try to raid a peaceful village that is protected by the Great Mamubaba, a "witchy" woman.

There is an old African proverb, so I'm told:  "When the lion wakes up in the morning, he knows that he must be the fastest runner in order to chase down his prey to eat and survive. When the gazelle wakes up in the morning, he knows that he must be faster than the lion in order to survive. So no matter which you are, lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up you had better be running - fast!"

The peaceful village of Umbangomango slumbers under the tropical sun.  The chief, Lolomango, meets with a wandering warrior, Larabebe, and his seven fellow warriors about helping protect the village from the depredations of British tax collectors and Zanzabari slavers.

Meanwhile, a part of Allan Haggard's safari encounters an angry hippopotamus as they try to cross the stream.  Can the hunters successfully dispatch the "river horse?"

About the same time, Captain Smedley Bryce-Hopkins, the leader of the askari column protecting the district tax collector, very coolly dispatches a rampaging rogue bull elephant before it can trample some of his askari and himself as well!

Alan Haggard, background, and the second half of his safari party also try to cross the same stream, only to encounter a crocodile.  The mighty hunters quickly dispatch him as well.  The hippo shot by the first half of the safari floats slowly downstream beyond the party of hunters.

A second rogue bull elephant attacks the British column, this time squashing a couple of askari before thundering off into the bush.

As veteran TSATF gamer (and an original play-tester) Jay Stribling (a native force commander) watches, Eric Teuber positions his Ruga-Ruga mercenaries in support of the Zanzabari slaver raid.  In the left foreground, the white hunters advance among the villagers fleeing the slave raid.

Advancing toward the village after learning of the approaching slave raid, Alan Haggard's safari encounters and quickly dispatches two hyenas.

Outside the village, the Zanzabari  slave raiders, assisted by their Ruga-Ruga mercenaries, face off against the warriors of the Great Mamubaba. the "witchy woman."

The game quickly drew to a close, with the native warriors repulsing the Zanzabari slave raiders, the British tax collector entering a virtually abandoned village, and the great white hunters scoring some impressive kills and winning the game.

Before the game began, Lori Brom informed me that my game was one of the ones chosen to award a "BC" (Brom Colonial) medal to the player who exemplified the true Victorian gentleman.  All of the players enjoyed themselves during the game and all were courteous and very gentlemanly in both adversity and plenty.  In true wargamer fashion, we decided that a roll of the die would award the medal.  Jay Stribling, a previous winner, graciously withdrew from consideration.  I rolled a D6 and the recipient was:

Eric Teuber, shown here with Lori Brom, herself.  Eric is an old-time Jackson Gamer and a long time player of The Sword and the Flame.

EDIT:  For additional pictures, please see this posting on the Nomadic Old School Gamer's blog. (edit posted on 12/18/2011)

And that was how I viewed Colonial Barracks.  I hope that you kind readers have enjoyed the brief peeks at the games and will seriously consider joining us next year on the first weekend of November as the Second Annual Colonial Barracks takes place.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Colonial Barracks Report -- Part 3

In this part of the report, I will display the pictures I took at the final two games in which I played.  The last part of the convention report (Part 4) will be of my game, The Lion and the Gazelle.  I will get it posted during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Pirates in the Main was run by Steve Wirth on Friday evening.  Steve used The Sword in the Caribbean variant of The Sword and the Flame rules in this game.

Pirates capture a town and Spanish troops have been sent to ransom or rescue the Governor.  But has this island been cleared of hostile natives?

The local natives are running the "mess line" with a bunch of English sailor captives.
The gal on the left has a tray of sliced vegetables with which she is flavoring the "long pork" stew while the chief looks on from his throne.  This scene is from Old Glory's Cannibal packs in their Pirates range (link and link).
The pirate "king" (Col Campbell, himself) questions the Spanish governor about the location of the town's treasure.
The Spanish ransom for the town and the governor approaches, led by a group of clerics.
The ransom begins to enter the town gates and the pirates swarm over the escort.  In the background, unmolested by the pirates, a group of British marines march past, hurrying to rescue the captives from the natives' pot.
But the clerics aren't what they appear and fight back.  One monk uses a huge candleholder to brain several pirates.
The British marines are charged by the natives.  Will modern firepower prevail?  Or will the natives overpower the Royal Navy's finest?
Ummm, the British marines didn't do so good.  It appears that the natives have increased their food supply!
The greatly diminished pirates look with fright at the approach of the Spanish relief column, which stormed the town and ended the brief reign of the "pirate king!"

In Nicaragua: 1926 was run by Ken Hafer on Saturday afternoon.  Ken used the With Ol' Gimlet Eye variant of The Sword and the Flame rules in this game.

U.S. Marines and Sandinistas decide they must deny this important piece of real estate to one another.

A Marine section with a heavy machine gun team occupies a cluster of palm trees.  They have already taken casualties from Sandinista fire.
Part of the Sandinista force is revealed, firing from the each of a large patch of jungle.
We were using hidden movement on maps provided by the game master.  Unfortunately the green Marine lieutenant (Col Campbell, himself) had his map oriented upside down and didn't realize it until the game was half over.  My fellow gamers razzed me about this for the rest of the game.  I can only protest that there was no "north" arrow so I didn't know which end was up (he says with chagrin).

Another Marine section successfully crosses a wide open area and gets ready to plunge into the jungle after a band of Sandinistas they can dimly see ahead of them.  Barely visible are the sailors that were with the Marines.  They engaged the Sandinistas first, but without a lot of close combat training they didn't do too well.

Although the fight wasn't captured for posterity, the Marines charged in with the bayonet, catching one band of Sandinistas by surprise and sending them reeling bloodily away.  Marines attacking with bayonets are +1 on all die rolls over and above their other modifiers (remember, Larry Brom is a Korean War veteran Marine!).  But there were more Sandinistas than you could shake a stick at deeper in the jungle and they came to their compatriots aid.  The Marines were forced back, carrying their wounded with them.

With our wounded almost equal to our survivors, the Marines and sailors withdrew, leaving the Sandinistas in control of the battlefield.  Not a great day for the Corps!
So out of four games in which I played, my record was one win (the French at Matehuala) and three losses (Arab cavalry in the Sudan, Pirates in the Caribbean, and Marines in Nicaragua) -- about par for me, alas.