Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Over the weekend the Hoosier crew gathered for a game of Black Powered. We put together a Napoleonic game that is loosely based on a slice of the 1809 a battle of Eckmhul between the French and Austrians.  The French of Davouts corps under the direct comand of St. Hillare (Allen) were tasked with taking the twin villages of Unterlatching and Oberlatching, as well as the high ground to the east of the villages.    

Oberlatchling can be seen in the foreground and Unterlatchling in the back ground.  To the east (left) of the villages the Austrian under the command of the less than stellar Dedovich (Lonnie and Pat) have taken up positions on the wooded hills that dominate the ground between the villages.

A view to the east shows the mass of Austrian infantry preparing a hot reception for the French.  Hidden behind the hill is a squadron of Austrian Chevauxlegre. 

Since we are playing a table a little narrower than normal the French marched on and into action very quickly.  In the south, the elite french battalions of the 57th and the 10th prepare to assault Unterlatchling.  
In the north the French advance was slower to develop thanks to confusing orders and poor dice rolling.

One of my major concerns was how such a "simple" and stream lined set of rules like Black Powder were going to represent combat in buildings. I am happy to say the the back and forth battles over the town sections provided some great nail biting moments for both sides.

The 57th and 3rd Line begin the assault on Unterlatchling.   

Each section was large enough to hold a full battalion.  The  Austrian battalions were considered large battalions but suffered from being unreliable due to their lower quality.  This is represented by any double roll on a command roll represents a failure.   The French on the other hand were of very high quality in general and 4 battalions of the 57th Line and 10th Legire being rated elite. 

The French elite battalions fail to carry the western sector of Unterlatchling on thier first attempt.  The rules allow for up to 2 dice to shoot from each face of a building sector up to the maximium shooting dice of the unit in the sector.  This seemed to me to be very low number but the +2 to their morale save against incoming fire made up for it.  The Austrians were to prove very formidable on the defensive.
In the north around Oberlatchling the French were able to forward and capture the western section and the church right under the Austrian's noses.   Thanks in large part to the lower quality and poor command rolls of the Austrians.  


Back in Unterlatchling the combined elite battalions are able to push the Austrian battalion out of the town but not with out significant cost.

As the French pushed into Unterlatchling the Austrian commander sensed an opportunity and advanced his secreted cavalry into the middle ground between the villages.

The Austrians blood was up
Their seemingly unnatural aggression was poised to be unleashed.  
It appeared the French had countered the aggressive Austrian cavalry by forming square with an infantry battalion. 

But bypassing the prepared infantry the Austrian cavalry found a jucy and unsuspecting target. By amazing command the Austrians were able to move across the front of the French army and hit the French artillery in the flank,

The artillery was rolled up in quick succession and only its disordered state kept the Austrians from continuing there headlong charge. 
In the north near Oberlatchling the Austrians begin to maneuver to cut off the french occupying the village from support
Taking heavy fire from the French battalion garrisoning the Oberlatchling church and heavy fire frontally from a second French battallion the pressure proves too much for the Austrians and they fall back in disorder.

In the south the French quickly consolidate their hold on the western section of Unterlatchling and begin to simultaneously press the eastern section of the town and redeploy to meet the threat of the rampaging Austrian cavalry.
As the threat from the Austrian horse was contained.  The French continued their assault on the final second of Underlatchling.  
Despite  fierce house to house fighting the Austrians  were able to hold on to the final section of Unterlatch.  Even with significant casualties (red markers) the stubborn Austrians held on.

As the fight for Unterlatchling continued in the North the Austrians sought to isolate the French that had occupied Oberlatchling's church and western sector.  This led to bloody fighting in the field to the south of the village.

It became apparent the French did not have the wherewith all to complete the occupation of the final portion of Oberlatchling.  The Austrians had drawn on their last immediate reserves and were able to win the struggle in the field to the south of the village but were unable to push the french out of the town. 

With the struggle in Oberlatchling a bloody stalemate the Austrians saw the opportunity to deny the French victory by holding the last of Unterlatchling.  The Austrians called on Erzog Karls Legion to backstop Unterlatchling

After being battered for 5 or more turns by 3 superior battalions of French the Austrian defenders of Unterlatchling could not hold any longer.

Frances battered regiments were able to take the village of Unterlatchling and most of the town of Oberlatchling but were unable to even attempt an assault on the hills that dominated the ground to the east of the latchlings.   

It was a very tough slug fest. I was surprised how tough the Austrians turned out to be.   They gave as good as they got in several fights where they were outnumbered by superior french troops. I also really dug the rules.  This is the second or third game of Black Powder we have played and each one has given us a great back and forth battle.   Thanks to Pat, Lonnie and Allen for a great game!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rest In Peace John Hill

The world of war gaming has been diminished today.  John Hill passed away yesterday.  In reading the many of the comments regarding Mr Hill I was struck by how similar my experience with him is.  In the summer of 1979 I discovered John Hill on a shelf at Hobbyland.  Hobbyland was my first hobby store. http://hobbylandfunstore.com/  I was there for model kits to build and blow up on the 4th of July (the one day I wouldn't get in trouble for blowing stuff up)  For some reason that day my eye was caught by an orange and black box that looked a little more like a book than it did anything else.

  This orange and black wonder turned out to be Squad Leader one of John Hill's masterpieces.   Looking at the back of the box I was totally enthralled.  I had played Risk, Monopoly and Stratego but I had never seen anything like this.  I had to have it, but, as a kid it was way out of my budget, It must have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 bucks.  So off I went to earn or beg enough to get it.

Once I was able to finance the purchase (thanks MaSue!)  I spent the next few days trying to digest what seemed at the time the most complex set of instructions ever written (it was the ikea of the 80s) A week of reading and rereading and 30 plastic baggies full of counters and I was ready to play.  I was fortunate enough to be able to force my cousin Glen to play with me.   After one game of getting my rear end shot off I was hooked.     We spent the rest of the summer playing through all the scenarios.  This introduction led me to other games like Divine Right, Panzer Blitz  and Panzer Leader.

  Eventually D&D replaced board gaming and by my mid teens girls replaced D&D.   Until my sophomore year in college I was pretty much game free.   Then I ran into this weird store in the village at Ball State called the Wizards Keep where most of my best friends today were hiding out. I was reintroduced to John Hill by Steve and Dave.  Two of the most dedicated civil war generals ever known.  Together they had 3/4 of the Confederate army at Gettysburg (and about 150% of the artillery).  Whitworth guns can kiss my ass!  As the neophyte I was thrown to the wolves,  I mean I was given the chance to play the Union.  Fred one of the other Union commanders took me under his wing and explained the basics and got me going.   Needless to say my poor Union boys were blasted to pieces and then driven off the field at bayonet point.   Despite the poor showing I was hooked again. John Hill had done it again with Johnny Reb.   He had done more that than he had introduced me to some my my lifelong friends

Fred convinced me to build the fifth corps to supplement his eleventh corps.   This led to several years of back and forth battles with Steve and Dave that gave us hundreds of hours of fun.   Through three editions of the rules we kept playing.

Fast forward more than a few years,  At Johnny Con III (I think) my oldest son Ethan, got a chance to meet and play Johnny Reb with John Hill. Pretty cool full circle.

Now the new iteration of Johnny Reb takes things to a higher level.  Across a Deadly Field is his newest offering.  Looking forward to giving it a spin.

 Rest In Peace John .  Thank you for your efforts, innovation and years of fun you have given us.   My thoughts and prayers are with your family.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bolt Action Americans

Here is a quick update and a few pictures on the new bolt action project.   I finished the first 20 GI's over the weekend.  Its time to start work on a few  Germans to face them.  

I used the ink method again over a block paint job.  I'm not happy with the color of the shirt/jacket but its done and my new painting policy is don't go back.

I am really getting comfortable with the look of the ink and highlight method.  I lose some of the artistic fun but it is so much faster.   These 20 figures have about 10 hours total in them. maybe even a little less.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

1st Corps Romans

Just put the finishing touches on my first 24 man unit of  1st Corps Romans.  Not super keen on the hand painted shields but I didn't have transfers.  The whole unit took maybe 10-12  hours to finish.   I really like the figures.  If they were easier to get I would have quite a few more.

Note to English miniature manufactures a 30% surcharge for shipping is pretty outrageous.  

Here's the before the ink wash picture.  I hate it they look like a 6 year old painted them.  Its almost painful to look at.

The after the initial Inking it looks quite a bit better.  I can live with it. 

Because I have issues I had to take a quick paint job and spend more time on it by highlighting and such.   I will be using sheiks decals from now on 

Overall it I think the ink wash does a good job in doing most of the highlighting work.  I went back and added some additional highlighting to reduce the grubby appearance of the ink wash alone.