A New Headquarters!

I know that it has been a while since I last posted anything. Well, I’ve had other things happening in my life. Very wonderful and important things.
On August 25th, Mame Wood and I were married. That’s right…this old soldier got married. Mame is the most wonderful woman I have ever met . Marrying her is the smartest thing I have ever done.
Secondly, we closed on a beautiful house in Gainesville yesterday. We’ll be spending the next couple of months or so moving all of our stuff in. Plenty of room for gaming!
Now you may ask what does this have to do with gaming? Well…everything! I have been blessed with a companion/wife who is really interested in my hobby. So much so that she is having me teach her how to paint miniatures. Mame has also played DnD and has already regaled me with stories of her female half-orc cleric. She is looking forward to playing in my RPG adventures.
In short, my friends, I’m not married to a “Gaming Widow” but rather a beautiful, intelligent woman who games!
Gonna be a whole lot of fun!

Off To GenCon!

In a few hours, I will be leaving for GenCon 2012. This will be my fourth year going. It is also the 45th Anniversary of the convention. I will be starting at least one new project when I get back. I promise to try and take a lot of pictures and I know I will be coming home with some serious goodies.
This will be my last GenCon…as a single man…next year I will be taking my wife. I’ll try and post something from the convention. See you all in a few days.

Steampunk Skirmishing: The Invasion of Tampa Bay Part 2

Why Tampa Bay?

In the last post, I wrote about the real world German plan to invade the US. The initial landing site would either be Bar Harbor, Maine or Long Bay, South Carolina (near Myrtle Beach). So why am I having the Dreaded Hun land in Tampa Bay? Well, since I plan on running this game at at least one local convention why not have the Germans land here. It gives the game a good local flavor. Part of the defending force will be several units from the 1st Florida Volunteer Infantry. Also included is a battery of artillery. I designated the battery as the Hillsborough Light Artillery. The volunteer units sport such names as the Ybor City Rifle Volunteers and the Tampa Home Guard. Now, the units have names that reflect the local heritage.
There are some really interesting locations in the Bay Area as well. My favorite, by far, is Cockroach Bay. It is located on the eastern shore of lower Tampa Bay. There is also a Cockroach Creek as well. Hmmmm! The Battle of Cockroach Creek: Where Once the Embattled Crackers Stood… I like the sound of that.

Steampunk Skirmishing: The German Invasion of Tampa Bay 1905 Pt. 1

My current project is to design and stage a Steampunk Skirmish Game. This is how I am doing it.
First of all, the game is based on one of the most popular genres of writing during the period (1870 – 1914) Invasion Literature. The first and one of the best in my opinion was “The Battle of Dorking” by George C. Tompkins. It was originally published in 1871 by Blackwoods Magazine and told the story of a successful invasion of England by a Foreign Power. It was very popular and controversial in its day and led to a host of other such stories including another one of my favorites “The Riddle of the Sands”. In almost all of these stories, the invading force was usually the German Empire although in several it was a Franco-Russian alliance. The choice of invader was generally dictated by the political leanings of the author.
America produced its own invasion literature usually with the British Empire cast as the invading power. The rationale given was an attempt to force the US back into the Empire. In most cases, local pluck and courage eventually drove the Invader from Our Beloved Native Soil.
In real life, the Germans actually did plan an invasion of the US. Dr. Holger Herwig in his excellent book, “The Politics of Frustration” details something called “Operations Plan III”. Imperial Germany was frustrated by the US conquering the Phillipines in 1898. In fact, the tensions got so bad in Manila Bay that the US and German squadrons leveled their guns at each other. Only the timely intervention of the British prevented a shooting war from taking place.
In the aftermath of this, the Germans felt there was no other recourse but to force the US to give up some of its colonial possessions. Ops Plan III was born. The plan called for the Germans to land at either Bar Harbor, Maine or Long Bay, South Carolina. The invasion force would consist of around 14,000 men. The objectives were to seize a portion of the US and force President Theodore Roosevelt to the negotiating table. Hindsight shows us that this was almost laughable but the Germans took it seriously. However, cooler heads prevailed and the plan was eventually shelved. Still, what an inspiration. What if instead of Maine or South Carolina, the Perfidious Hun had decided to seize a chunk of Florida instead?
This then is the foundation for our tabletop adventure.

Painting and Organizing: Part 2…”The Prussians Are Coming…The Prussians Are Coming!”

Imperial Prussian Feldkompanie in all of their Teutonic Glory. They are organized for the Soldiers Companion rules. The command figure are on slightly larger bases.

Okay…when I decided to organize my Imperial Prussian forces, I wanted to use their historical organization. The Imperial Prussian Army’s basic building block was the infantry battalion of approximately 1,000 men divided into four companies of 250 men each. Why such big companies? Well, according to my sources, it was because the larger companies could more readily absorb combat losses and keep fighting.
Since I have a large collection of early WWI figures already painted up, it was no problem fielding a full strength Imperial Prussian Feldkompanie. Here they are in all their Teutonic Glory!

They are mostly Battle Honours figures with a couple of Pulp Figures as well as a Paroom Station miniature as the company commander.  After I paint up a few command figures, I should have enough soldiers to form up a second Feldkompanie! Let the Kaiser’s enemies beware!

Painting and Organizing and Such…Pt 1

Well, now that I am off to Mars as it were, it’s time to get the troops painted and organized. I’m choosing a 1:10 figure to actual troops ratio. I am going to organize them according to the “Soldiers Companion” by Frank Chadwick. This is a fine set of rules for company level skirmish gaming that was first published in August of 1989.
The units themselves are organized into 20 figure infantry companies and cavalry squadrons and 3 gun artillery batteries. That would make each cavalry and infantry unit equal to 200 men (or Martians). The only exception to this were the Americans who were organized in 10 figure units which equaled 100 men. This was the standard size for an American infantry company. However, it was also the standard size for a British company as well. To this day, I am still not clear on why the US was singled out in this manner. However, I decided to go ahead and use the actual company strengths for the infantry companies of various nationalities.
So now, the British, the US, and the French will all have 12 figure companies. The Germans, however, can field a company that is double that number(24). It will certainly look most impressive on the battlefield. I leave the Canal Martians at 20 figure companies. Well, enough of the paper pushing as it were…here’s what’s on the work table

Here is the first figure. This is a Canal Martian Legionary Officer. Along with his traditional sword, he also carries a modern revolver made on Earth. The light blue color is the color of the Oenotrian Empire’s 15th Legion.
Martian Colonial Infantry NCO. This could also be an Infantry NCO from the Tossian Empire…and it probably will be.
A stalwart British officer. He’s actually wearing the 1908 issue uniform and gear but hey, this is Space:1889 so things should be a little more modern. 
And of course the Colour Sergeant.
Some of the “lads” as well. 

Well, I think that will do it for now. Stay tuned for Part 2 in which the Germans rear their ugly heads!

Mars…World of Adventure!

Welcome to the Red Planet! This is a map of Mars in the world of Space:1889. I have been adventuring on this world since GDW first released this game in 1989.

Mars as envisioned by Frank Chadwick for the Space:1889 Role-Playing Game.

Geographically, it is dry dusty old world that is filled with the ruins of a once great civilization. Along the canals, you can see the locations of the various city states that are home to the Canal Martians. The green areas are the old sea beds while the brown are the uplands. The mountains are home to the savage Beast Men while the great steppes and deserts are claimed by the Hill Martians.

Humans first arrived on Mars in 1870 when Thomas Edison and Jack Armstrong made the voyage in Edison’s new Aether Flyer. By 1889, several of Earth’s Great Powers had staked claims to parts of Mars with the British Empire holding the largest part followed closely by King Leopold of Belgium. Japan, Russia, Germany, and France are also on Mars leading to what at times can be a very volatile situation.

So…Welcome to Mars! Check your expedition’s supplies…hire a trustworthy guide…and prepare for a Steampunk adventure.