Monday, 30 June 2014

420 miles/ 672 km.... to play wargames

and then back home again....

Mike and I have known each other for many years, meeting a couple times a year for a wargame or two.  But the last time I was at his home, in the small town of some 5,600 souls in northern British Columbia, Canada, was 24 years ago!
So, with air flight ticket paid for with loyalty points.  And he a weekend off work, we had two and half days of fun pushing around some miniatures.

Mike in his own bit of heaven;  his wargame loft.

His [partial] army collection!  Needless to say we used only his figures.
The no chips (British translation: crisps) zone!

"the entrance to heaven"  His 'ladder' to the loft is a bit steep. He is so devoted to the hobby, he removed his roof to build this loft on top of his house!
After I snooped around the loft like a dog in a new house, going this way and that, poking my nose into every box and shelf, we got "down to business" and began the weekend with a Muskets and Tomahawks game.  I wanted to try this newish rule set as I need a good skirmish one for myself.   While it does have some gaps, and does involve a bit of dice rolling, the whole effect is fairly good.  We did not get into the role-playing as suggested in the rules but played it straight up with Mike commanding the British and I, the French.

It can be played on a small table.  The white round counters are my Indians blinds.

I have secured the village as Mike's British cross the bridges.

Mike had previously purchased my AWI collection and a few were used in this game. Good to see them again.

Ah, yes, my usual dice rolling.  Only three hits out of the 12 die thrown...

Entertaining game which seemed to ebb back and forth depending on how poorly we each rolled that turn.  Mike's dice were not hot either.
massed French vs Rangers behind a stone wall...oh, dear. It did not work out well for me.

We played and talked well into the wee hours.  We could say we were lulled by the continued sunlight as, at this high latitude, darkness does not really occur until 23:00 (11 pm), however, to be honest, we were enjoying the conversation and game.
Next day arose fairly early to watch the World Cup Football match.  After which, Mike's usual gaming buddies, Stede and Scott, arrived to play a Fire and Fury ACW scenario of the Battle of Spring Hill.  I took command of the Confederate cavalry which, for this scenario, did not have ammo so no use dismounting,eh. And they are directly across a stream from ready Union brigades but the terrain did not suggest a flanking move.  But once Mike, as GM, said moving across the stream was not disordering but a mere 3" move penalty I knew I would be a grey-clad 'Custer'; Reb's +1 for charging and all....

my Rebel cavalry has already pushed back the Union boys and occupy the town on the way to capture their supply train (upper right) the victory condition (other than eliminate the enemy)
a photo of one of my wild-ass but generally successful charges

The game was good as the friends agreed the scenario was interesting and no doubt they will have another go at it.  The Fire and Fury rules always give a good result. 

With the friends departure and after dinner, we had a go at a Russian (me) vs Prussian (Mike) Seven Years War affair with a home brew ruleset which I had started but failed to continue to playtest.  However previous games excited Mike enough for him to base this large collection to my style of basing!  So we spent another long evening ( 0330 hours in this case!) playing and revising.  Fun stuff. And no, not even close to being cohesive.

Mike's Russian infantry in the large stand basing style.

I massed the Russian artillery (yes, they were in red during the SYW)

My painted Bosniaks unit of the Prussian army now in Mike's collection.

Ability to move elements is based on the number of pips the player rolls.  We had large commands and only one d6 per so without group moves, you tend to fight with limited troops, so much of your army is not being committed.  In my case, my masses of Russian infantry were stationary on the flanks while the cavalry fought on the left flank and Mike's Prussians slowly crushed my center.  I managed to kinda plug the gap but I was already starting to call the retreat.

The 'Yellow Hussars' on my left flank stayed locked in combat for five turns! thereby thwarting the Prussian advance

The Prussian masses in the center.  The horse on the left is my Russian heavies to which I had to attach my CinC to move them which will see them turn left and break the Prussian green clad Freikorps in the caps and with really no option but to continue this 'death ride' around the Prussian army in its rear!  I lost his extra command pips which hurt my battle plans.

a 'gamer's view' of the SYW battle from the Prussian perspective
 On Sunday again breakfast watching the World Cup football and then upstairs to have a go at his home brew AWI rules which is an interest mix of parts of all the other rules he uses. 
The first game was a small scenario which a British regular force was attacked by a much larger but mostly militia army.  While the British did have reinforcements coming to the rescue, they were not needed as the poor militia had a tough time of it as they usual do with disorganization, routing, and poor fire.  Many times, Mike's poor rolls did not help :-)

a good example of the basing for both this AWI unit and of his (and mine) SYW formations

the game in action with the British confidently holding their positions

a couple of my former painted units shooting at each other

from the second game.  The cotton puffs indicate that the unit has not moved and cannot but has a +1 for "volley fire"

However all good things must end, and so on Monday morning I was at the airport for the hour and half flight home.  The day was nice and sunny all the way.  A good weekend.

From inside the Smither's terminal building looking at the mountains (no, not zoomed) The local skyhill is a bit to the left off camera.

The view of the coast of BC from 15,000 feet. 

Usually the mountains are obscured by rain clouds.  But are pretty on days like this

The Dash 8 in which I flew.


  1. Sounds like a lovely trip to make... glad you enjoyed yourself!!!

    1. Short but sweet.
      thanks for the note

  2. Dedicated gamer connection!


    1. Haven't spoken with Stede for a couple of decades but we were quickly laughing at past games and gamers!

  3. Seems a great time was had and made the better for it's rarity


    1. it's all with the beer! LOL
      thanks for the mote

  4. Wild weekend with a lot of fun there!

    1. Wild? Well, certainly not with girls and drugs, but for wargamers, certainly good!

  5. What a wonderful gaming area - save the steep climb. I can only imagine how many figures he has in those plastic bins. Hour 1/2 flight? He must live next to Alaska - a beautiful are - like a nature preserve, but that said, I'd be missing civilization (a love-hate relationship for me). As far as M&T goes, I briefly looked through a copy, and it sounded very interesting - but I've yet to play it. Dean

    1. It is a card system of movement so the unpredictability is certainly there. Firing is a "3+" thing
      [ needing 3 or greater on the dice to hit] . I had a French grenadier unit go over a hedge only to lose 9 or 10 figures!.A combination of his good rolls and my bad. The lone survivor still made morale! LOL Brave fellow he is......
      Nevertheless I may use most of the parts as my Napoleonics skirmisher rules.

      Oh, and they have McDonald's up there as well electricity, internet, ebay and all the other stuff of "civilization" Sheez, Dean

  6. What a terrific way to spend the weekend! I couldn't help noticing that many of his figures were once yours. Great looking games.

    1. I took many photos of mine as the camera seemed to like his lighting and they are just so photogenic :-)
      Mike makes a happy mix of his own painting, some of mine, and ebay acquisitions.

      thanks for the note,

  7. That's the way to have a homecoming! Great games, good friends and lots of laughs. Beaut photos shared with us, thanks.
    It's a lovely part of the world, I'm amazed that you managed to stay away for so long!