Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Video: Enfilade 2017--Land Battle Games on Saturday Night

It's been several months since I produced a YouTube video.  In fact, the last three were about different segments of Enfilade 2016.

During last year's convention, I spent the entire event as the "official" photographer.  Most of the 754 usable pictures made their way to newsletters, the evolving Planned Events List (PEL) for Enfilade 2017, and my own webcomic strips.

This year, I only attended two game periods, Blocks E & F, which took place on Saturday night (7-11 PM) and Sunday (10 AM--2 PM).

Since I had to work on Saturday, I had enough time to zip down to the main game room and take 126 usable pictures.

The topic of this video is the historical land-battle games played during Time Period F, on Saturday night (27 May 2017).

Games involving other aspects of warfare, such as areal and naval battles, along with non-historical sci-fi and fantasy games were also played.

Unfortunately--for now--those games are "on the cutting room floor."  I made this "Director's Decision" because I wanted to fit the pictures in with the three-minute sound track I selected.

If I find a suitable piece of music for the handful of other pictures I took, I'll splice together another movie.

As to the one naval game I played during Block F, that will be an After Action Review for a later blogpost.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy this video.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Enfilade 2017: Negative Waves

Out of the 183 raw photos I took during my short stint at Enfilade 2017, I ended up with 126 usable photos.

Of which, this one, from an Operation Barbarossa game, is my favorite...

...and is the basis for my Kelly's Heroes themed comic.

This photo has a better point of view...

...however, it doesn't fit well within the Comic Life program I utilize.

Well, now I have another 124 pictures to make use of.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Murphy's Law of Combat #38--Miniatures Version

While I'm still sifting through this past weekend's Enfilade, I found a picture from last year's convention that I think applies well to another one of Murphy's Laws of Combat.

I'm also honored that the new president of NHMGS uploaded my  Tabletop Perspective Story to the Enfilade website.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Enfilade 2017--From a "Tabletop Perspective"

Due to my work schedule this year, I was able to attend a small part of Enfilade! this year.  After work on Saturday, I drove down to pick up my registration packet, take some preliminary photos and go on a shopping spree for game material I can't live without.

On Sunday, I played "Slugfest at Samar," a World War II naval combat game.  During this "fly-by" and "game day" I took 183 raw photos, which will take me several months weeks days to process.

In the meantime, I wanted to post this "Tabletop Perspective" of Enfilade 2017, while all of us were still basking in the convention's afterglow--even if it meant using last year's pictures.

I hope everyone who attended enjoyed themselves.

And whether or not you attended Enfilade, or other game conventions, I hope you enjoy this story...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Review: The Last Chancers

The Last Chancers, a Warhammer 40K series of omnibus novels by Gav Thorpe, is in short, The Dirty Dozen--IN SPACE! 

It's a tale about the 13th Penal Legion, or what's left of the unit, told from Lieutenant Kage's point of view.  Who after the first story, turns out to be the team's Ax-Crazy "Maggot"--with latent psychic abilities.  Oh, and who eventually becomes possessed by a daemon.

Since this is about the most notorious of the Imperium's penal legions, the "grim darkness of the far future..." is cranked up to 11.  Also, in each of the three books, the team ends up drearily slogging through the most inhospitable terrain the dystopian galaxy has to offer.

The narrative ends abruptly, when Kage sacrifices himself on their last mission.  So we don't know what happens immediately afterwards.

The Last Chancers has an average 4.1 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.com.

But I'm only going to give it a subjective 3-star rating, because there isn't a single character in any of the stories I could identify with.  If there was anyone I came close to liking, they either showed their truly depraved colors later in the story, or died a horrible death.  More often than not--both. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Move Review: Never So Few

I can't say I've seen every American war movie ever made, but I'd like to think I've seen a hefty chunk of them.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across this DVD Triple Feature.

I've seen Objective, Burma!, and Go for Broke! once or twice, decades ago.  But at least I vaguely remember them.

I may do reviews of these two films, but for now, I want to focus on the on I've never even heard of until I bought the DVD:  Never So Few.

The movie is about a team of OSS (Office of Strategic Services) operatives and the Kachin natives they lead against the Japanese in Burma (now Myanmar).

A friend and I were surprised at how good this movie was.  True, this may be because it was "new" to us, but it didn't diminish our enjoyment.  Although, like most (all?) movie critics felt at the time of the film's release, I felt the romantic sub-plot between Frank Sinatra and Gina Lollobrigida was an unnecessary drag to the action.

As a gamer, I find this movie fascinating because it could lend itself well for a multi-player wargame, campaign, or even a role-playing game (RPG).

In the middle of the Burmese jungle you have--

--OSS operatives and their Kachin allies

--Japanese invaders

--at least one Chinese warlord and his minions

--a merchant with possible shady connections, and

--his femme fatale girlfriend

 I don't have any World War II miniatures, so maybe some other gamer will be inspired to conjure up a campaign based on this 4-star movie.

(Painting by Stuart Brown, found on Pintrest)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Murphy's Law of Combat at Enfilade 2017

I often find an flimsy excuse a solid reason to quote one of Murphy's Laws of Combat in any given
situation or endeavor.

Wargaming is no exception for me.

So with NHMGS's Enfilade 2017 just over a week away, I trolled through last year's pictures whice seem to evoke a couple of these laws.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Enfilade 2017 E-Postcards

For the past couple of weeks I've been trolling through the pictures I tool during last year's Enfilade! for inspiration to promote this year's convention.

While I took over 750 pictures, I kept coming back to one Gene Anderson's kid-friendly "Games for Young Warriors."

The led photo lent itself to a humorous "Wish You Were Here (Sharing the Misery and Danger)" post card-style image.

And oddly enough, one of my favorite images of last year's Enfilade is this one of a handful of Foreign Legionnaires making a last stand against the horde of Arabs.

It seems like every game game session I've participated in, at least one player will reference a movie or TV show quote, or character catchphrase. 

Since gaming and movie quotes often fit well together in a "peanut butter and jelly" sort of way, the Legionnaire's last stand seemed like a natural for Oliver Hardy's catchphrase rebuke to Stan Laurel.

(Image of Laurel and Hardy in Beau Hunks)
Laurel and Hardy's heyday was actually before my time.  (Really, I'm not THAT old).

However, growing up in the pre-VCR Era, there was no On-Demand, or Netflix.  Outside the three networks' prime time viewing slot, the movies and TV shows my siblings, friends and I watched were at least 10 years old.  Most were a lot older.

So I'm well acquainted with not only Laurel and Hardy, but Abbott and Costello, the Marx Brothers, The Three StoogesThe Little Rascals (Our Gang)--and since I was raised in Upstate New York--The Bowery Boys.   

I'll keep trolling the internet for some classic comedy gems to steal incorporate to my own repertoire.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Broadside Newsletter: Issue #2--Enfilade 2017

Our annual Enfilade! convention is less than a few weeks away.

To help promote this occasion, I concocted Issue #2 of The Broadside Newsletter.

I also conjured-up a couple of web posters, the first used as the led image for this post

The newsletter is a short, illustrated synopsis gleaned from the convention's Planned Events List (PEL), written by the Enfilade Events Coordinator, Dave Mebust.

(Page 1)

(Page 2)

(Page 3)

(Page 4)

Since Enfilade 2017 hasn't come to pass yet, I used some of the pictures I took from last year's convention.

This image is my favorite candid shot:

I couldn't resist using the player's predicament for a humorous poster.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Review: The Art of Total War

(Image from the book used by New Gamer Nation)
Most computer and video games make me ill.

It's not because of the quality--or lack thereof--of the products.  It's because I'm prone to motion sickness.

Despite my ailment, I've still purchased over a dozen games during the past several years.  Ones that I could play without getting sick.

However, I've hardly played any of my computer games because:

1. I'm too busy with my writing and "analogue games" (as boardgames and miniatures are now called).

2. I suck at playing computer and video games.

One of the game series I've heard good things about is Total War.

I've collected some of the titles in the series, starting with the original, Shogun:  Total War.

They're still sitting on my shelf, unplayed.

However, this didn't stop me from buying a copy of The Art of Total War at Half Price Books.

The Art of Total War is a lavish collection of concept sketches and promotional pieces, along with a short history of the series.

I finished reading the book in less than two hours and flipped through it one more time just to admire the artwork.

Someday I'll upload one of the games on my computer and actually play it.

The developers went to great lengths to maintain historical accuracy in their games. 

But the author, Martin Robinson, admitted they also allowed some Hollywood influence to creep in for entertainment purposes.
(Image from the 1963 film Cleopatra)

Apparently, there's a debate as to whether or not video games are an art form.

I'm no high-brow art critic, but after reading this book I'm convinced video games are indeed art forms.

Either way, The Art of Total War can be found on Amazon.com, with a well-deserved near 5-star rating from eight reviewers.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

My Micro Scale Fighting Emplacements

A few years ago, my friend Adrian sold/gave me seven of these micro-scale (6 millimeter, 1/285th scale) fortified positions.

Neither one of us can recall where he originally got them, or who made them.

I'm not even sure what they actually are.  The concrete building incorporated in the berm doesn't have any firing ports, and the position is too open to be fortified position for infantry.

So my WAG (Wild-Ass Guess) is these are emplacements for heavy artillery, and the bunker is the site's ammunition magazine.

Well whatever they are, after being in my care for a few years, I finally finished painting and flocking them.  Part of the reason this took me so long was that I have other projects I'm working on, and since I do all my flocking in the garage, it's something of a seasonal activity--the weather can't be too hot, or too cold.

For this photo shoot, I placed a Soviet heavy artillery piece (122mm?) inside the three I selected.  Then I photographed a single gun emplacement in order to provide a view from all sides:

The heavy gun emplacements weren't the only fighting positions I finished working on.

I bought several infantry fighting positions a year or so ago from Monday Knight Production's Action Terrain Line during one of my infrequent forays to Enfilade!

Here are front and back views of the fighting positions:

These along with the Action Terrain buildings are patterned after the ones seen on various Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader map boards.

The only issue I have with these pieces are they're more aesthetic than functional.  The only micro-scale figures I can fit into them are ones mounted on half-inch squares (formerly blank board game counters).

These positions are now manned by two mortar crews on the left and right ends of the defensive line, while heavy machine guns and crews occupy the two center positions.

Since I have a lot of World War II and sci-fi figures mounted on half-inch bases, I'll still be able to put these fighting positions to good use.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mounted Medieval Figures for WAB Corner Collection

(The "inspiration" for my Lion Rampant retinue:  From Monty Python and the Holy Grail)  
Before my Easter Break, I wrote about my acquisition of medieval figures from my friend Dean, author of the popular WAB Corner.

Somewhere in cyberspace, (I can't seem to find where), Dean replied that all I needed to complete my Lion Rampant retinue were some mounted figures.

The other day, I realized:  I do have a handful of knights on horseback.  They're just not anywhere near as well-painted as my gaming friends can do.

When I was stationed in Germany--about two dozen years ago--I'd buy a handful of figures, made by a company once called Fantasy (Metal Magic), every pay day at a local hobby store.  At the time, they were about one German Mark each for single foot-bound figures, while the ones on horseback were about two Marks.

This was before Europe adapted the Euro, so if I remember correctly,  one Mark equaled 60-70 cents, depending on the exchange rate.  Despite the great prices, I still didn't buy every figure listed in Metal Magic's catalog.

Someday I'll take a complete inventory.

Today's short subject though, is about my handful of Mounted Paladins.

I painted these figures shortly after purchasing them, so the paint job is over 20 years old.  I never attempted painting heraldry on these or any of my medieval/fantasy figures. 

Fortunately, only a few figures show wear & tear.  One knight is sporting a lance with a broken tip.  Several years ago I added matboard bases to add more stability to the figures.  Then a few years ago, I went on a flocking spree, adding grass & grit to the bases of these--and most of the figures in my entire miniature collection.

Anyway, this is probably the shortest photo gallery I've posted, but it turned out to be one of the most frustrating.  Because of how my Plain Paladins are stored, the knights aren't glued to the saddles.  So during my photo shoot the knights would become "unhorsed."  Even if they managed to remain in the saddle some don't appear to be sitting straight.

Here's how the master craftsmen at Metal Magic envisioned their knights-in-shining armor:

(Image from a scanned copy of Metal Magic's catalog)

And here's a look at my Plain Paladins:

(Five knights, mounted on caparison-draped horses, prepare to charge)
(Knights patrolling the realm)
(A more ground-eye's view of the knights and their caparisoned horses)

(Three knights mounted on horsed encased in barding prepare to charge)
(Patrolling the realm in full plate armor)
(A more elevated view of the plate armored patrol)

Whether my paladins are wonderfully or woefully painted, at least I won't be committing the faux-pas of fielding bare metal figures.

Besides, they'll probably perform some variation of this well-known maneuver in any tabletop encounter...

(Image by:  Dyemelikeasunset)

Sunday, April 16, 2017