Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kindle Version of In the Name of Roma

I know many of you have purchased In the Name of Roma from me and I am very thankful for that. I have received some fantastic feedback on it from many of you. Those of you that have given me feedback, would you do me a favor and please write a review on Amazon? I currently have two reviews out there now and I would really like to have a couple more if at all possible.

To get to In the Name of Roma on the Kindle store you can go to these links:

US Kindle Store
UK Kindle Store
Spain's Kindle Store
Canadian Kindle Store

I lowered the price on the Kindle store to $5.99 to see if that would make a difference. So far, not much of one. Anyway, thanks for the kind words that I have been sent. Thanks for the support.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcomes

I just realized that I have not acknowledged the recent followers who joined. Sorry about that.

The most recent is Stuart Surridge. Stuart, welcome aboard. Stuart's blog is at http://dusttears.blogspot.co.uk/ I don't see a link to a blog for you. Please let me know if you have one and I will happily post a link. He has a very nice AAR on a recent modern Africa game up at the moment. It is well worth a visit.

Next up is Brian English. Brian (if I have the right guy) is a regular gaming opponent of mine. I guess I have to be careful on just how biased my AARs are in the future. :)

Inspiration
I have recently been enjoying Simon Scarrow's Cato series. Unfortunately, I started them from the middle of the series due to what was available at the library. They are really pushing me forward with the Wacht am der Rhine project. They have been highly entertaining. But one thing they keep referring to is Legions having slings as part of their kit. I have found no other references for this. Anyone know of the validity of the Legions giving slings to their infantry? Seems like Mr Scarrow is just being creative to me. I know that there were Auxiliary cohorts that were so equipped.

Until next time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Finishing up a few items

I finished up the basing on my Engineering elements for Chain of Command with my Early War Germans. I have a Medic, a minesweeper team and a wire demolition team. I did not have enough for a demolition team. I also had two spare Russians that I just finished the basing of to get them out of the way.

I am not happy with these. I forgot to water my ink down and they came out very dark. I am not so dissatisfied that I will want to repaint them. I will just live with them.

I just painted up the shields for my first couple of Early Imperial Romans. I went off of the shield design that is on the http://www.miniatures.de/toe-roman-cohors-quingenaria-equitata.html website. There was no way my eyes or hands could handle anything quite so detailed. So I tried to suggest at it. Not sure if it worked or not.

Here is the six that I have finished up. I have most of the command element for my first century. The Optio, the Signifer and the Cornicen. Also I have the guy who will be the Tribune for my citizen cohort. He has a pair of servants to take orders and hold his shield (apparently).

I really like the Corvus Belli optio. I think these came out pretty good.

Anyway, I have started on the infantry. I have the armor painted up and the flesh on a couple of them. They actually paint up really nicely. The one complaint I have on the CB Auxiliaries are the spears. The points are very indistinct. I will be trying out a few others as will. I have two Museum miniatures Auxiliaries (I think they are from them). They looks pretty good and should mix well (other than having better spears).

Next up is figuring out the basing. I believe that I want to have square bases for my Romans to allow them to be placed close together in formation. My Germans (whenever I get around to them) will be on Round bases as they will not be able to do close order formations like the Romans. Well, that is the current plan. Stay tuned. It could change. Anyway, things are at least progressing.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

From Empire to Revolution

Rich just sent me the cover art for my East Front Supplement for Through the Mud and Blood. I am very excited about this.

What do you think?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wacht am Der Limes - Some Ideas

Currently Early Imperial Romans have my attention. Based on the feedback from yesterday, it seems that at least a couple of readers here have a similar interest. So let me ramble on a bit about the status of this project. I actually have a title for it that I like which is unusual. Typically the title is one of the last things that I come up with. Based on the title of this post, you can gather that the title is "Wacht am der Limes."

I was recently asked how I approach the projects that I work on. My instant thought was that would be like me explaining what goes into sausage - something most people just don't want to know. Now I am having second thoughts about that. I have always had a fascination with the Roman Empire. When I was taught about the empire in school I came away with the impression that it was a hugely organized and efficiently run mechanism that started to break down and fail around 400 AD or there about. Where as throughout its history it seems that it fought against itself almost as much as it fought its enemies. Still, they are impressive.

I have relatives in Germany and knew a little that the Roman Empire extended its borders up into Germany but had little idea of what was going on there at the time. So like most projects, it began with a little Google. I found a site on the Saalburg fort and its reconstructions and that is what hooked me to the time and place.

Next was confirming what I already knew about the Roman military at the time and figuring out what they could do. Then I have spent some time figuring out what was there was in terms of a military presence in my selected area. This is probably a trip down an unnecessary rabbit hole. Anyway, here is some notes I have put together so far that you may or may not enjoy.

First, I am limiting the project to the German Limes at roughly 100AD or there about. I have found some excellent web sites that are really useful.

First up is Vici.org.

Next is an awesome map site http://imperium.ahlfeldt.se/places/16049.html.

Here is a screen shot from their page on the area that I am looking at. The map is much easier to deal with than the one from Vici.org as the symbols for the forts are not as large. But Vici.org has more of the minor roman roads present in their map. So both are rather useful. What I cannot find is any markings for German Villages other than the small round red (at least I think they are red) ring forts marked inside the Roman area on the map above. Those are not as helpful. The ring forts date back to more of a celtic origin from the early iron age. It is likely that those settlements were largely abandoned by the time of Roman occupation.

I am focusing on the Civitas Taunensium area of Germania Superior. That is more or less what is featured on the map above. Nida was the capitol of the civitas. Saalburg would have been one of its border forts. Nida was not nearly as large a town as that of Mogontiacum (Modern Mainz). There are no less than three fortification sites present in the town. By the 3rd Century AD, the town had established city walls and had grown to a civilian population of close to 10,000 people. But by 100AD the town was a village outside of the roman fort. I am assuming that the Kastellung A - the stone fort - would be the one that would have been standing at the time. The roads leading in and out of Nida matched to the entrances to this fort.

The garrison of Nida was held by several different units during its history. These included Ala I Flavia Gemina, Cohors XXXII Voluntariorum civium Romanorum and Cohors IIII Vindelicorum. These are all Auxiliary units. The first being a cavalry unit. The second is interesting as it is a volunteer unit of Roman civilians. These would normally have been men eligible for the Legions. They were raised after the disaster in the Teutonburg Forest. Depending on who you read there were anywehre from 17 to 42 of these types of Cohorts raised. This unit is placed in Nida at close to the end of the first century from an inscription found from a centurion being dedicated into the cult of Mithras. They then were transfered to Ober-Florstadt.

The Vindelicorum Cohort was apparently an infantry cohort. They have a reenactment group that has put together a fun little video on their web page. Its loud so be prepared to lower the volume on your speakers before giving it a go. Apparently, this unit spent most of its time as a garrison of Grosskrotzenburg. Bricks made by this unit at their foundry in Grosskrotzenburg found their way all across the limes.

The cavalry unit appears to have been raised close to 70ad. It was a quingenary unit of about 500 cavalrymen. It was raised in what is now Switzerland but served in this area close to the time we are looking at. The fort at Nida was large enough that it would have been able to support two Auxiliary cohorts. Thus it is likely that the cavalry and one of the infantry units served side by side there.

The town of Nida is a major cross roads that link the significant fortifications of the bulge in the limes. The limes follow a series of large hills that provide a slight natural barrier to the flatter agricultural lands to the south. Along these hills, the limes were built. Straight north of Nida is Saalburg, a cohort fort hosting the Cohors II Raetorum Civium Romanorum Equitata. This is a mixed arms cohort with 480 infantry and 120 cavalry. This is the unit that I am focusing on.

Saalburg has a museum now and much work has been done to reconstruct the fort.

The picture is taken from http://www.lsg.musin.de/geschichte/Material/Bilder/r%C3%B6mer-in-dtl.htm.

The way I am thinking of putting this together, the actions would take place around the watchtowers that are places between the forts and possibly one of the kleinkastles like Lochmuhle. Even in 15mm, the Saalburg fortification would take up most of the table. The Germans might press in and raid one of the villas in the south or the Romans may press across the limes in a punitive expedition against a German village.

The goal is to keep the Roman formations as historical as possible while not doing over much violence to the Dux rules. I have some ideas and did a theoretical German attack on a small roman fort on paper. It seems to work. I will post more once I get some miniatures ready.

Anyway, if you have found something interesting here, throw me a bone and click and ad below. I am hoping to drive up my click rate and fund my future purchase of some Early Germans.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Projects - Need some help in choosing a direction

I just managed to get my entry for the Chain of Command Challenge done and I started looking through my list of projects that I have begun but not finished.

1) CSS Appomattox - This is an alternative history novel that I have been working on for about 6 months or so. I am about 63,000 words into it of a projected 100K.

2) Flik55j - This is a supplement for Algernon Pulls it Off covering on of the most successful squadrons of the Austro-Hungarian air force. Given the holding pattern of Algy II, this may just remain in a holding pattern.

3) Small Warriors - This is about 80% done. It is a set of scenarios and modifications for Kiss Me Hardy covering the smaller warships that engaged in the American Revolution. Covers Royal Navy, Colonial Navy, State Navy and Privateer forces operating near or out of South Carolina during the Revolution. It also includes Sharp Practice scenarios as well.

4) Wacht am der Limes - This is a modification to Dux Britanniarum set on the German Limes during the Early Imperial era of the Roman Empire. This one is still in the idea phase. I just bought some more miniatures for this. At this point, the potential forces will be larger than that of regular Dux.

5) The third book in my AWI series - This would begin around November 1870 and follow the action north into North Carolina. I have the outline of about 3 scenarios so far. Not far along at all.

6) ACW Atlanta Campaign - I am working on a supplement for They Couldn't Hit an Elephant and Terrible Sharp Sword that covers the battles for Atlanta. Was to be finished for the 150th anniversary but that is not going to happen.

7) An Anglo-Zulu War Supplement - This is well under way but I need to get some games in to make sure what i am trying works. That and I need to paint more Zulus. I think this one is at about 45%.

Anyway, I went through these and I am really interested in all of them. I just don't know which way to go. Any suggestions?

Chain of Command Challenge - Action at Ustilug - June 22, 1941

PatG on the TooFatLardies Forum has posted a challenge to come up with some custom Force Lists for Chain of Command. I pulled out my crayons and got to work. I recently bought the book "The Bloody Triangle" which covers one of the early armor battles of Operation Barbarossa in June of 1941. I found a reference to the battle for a town the captured my imagination.

on June 22, 1941, the town of Ustilug, Ukraine was invaded as the German army sent elements of the 298th Infantry Division to take the town and press past and on to the provincial capitol of Vladimir-Volyn. From Ustilug, the Germans had access to a major road that would lead directly to Kiev.

With the release of the Sharp End by the TooFatLardies, doing this as a campaign seemed very attractive. So I began work. Using the orders of battle for the Divisions on both sides of the action, I redid the force lists to cover the troops and vehicles that they actually had available to them. There are some different troop types in the force lists that could prove to be fun including bicycle and cavalry reconnaissance troops.

Enough of that, you can find the force lists/mini campaign here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/g9l789fpzvocxa0/Action%20at%20Ustilug.pdf

Actual Progress on Chain of Command Early German Troops

Once again I found myself on a conference call at 4am. It seems that at 4am I am rather productive. I managed to finish painting my engineering elements for my Early War Germans. The minesweeper team is done. As well as the Wire Clearing team. The Flamethrower team was already done. I may have made a miscalculation and I don't think I have a demolition team. I need to recheck this. I did finish up a medic figure. It was an officer looking figure that was reading a book. I guess it can be a medic reading a first aid manual. Once I put on the matt varnish, I'll get some pictures of these. The varnish should be applied while I am at home for lunch.

The only thing I am missing from the main Chain of Command list is some vehicles and anti-tank guns. The missing stuff includes a sPzB41 2.8cm ATR, a Sdkfz 10/5 with a 20mm AA gun, a Flak 30 AA gun, a Pak36(t) 4.7cm ATG, a Pak38 5cm ATG and a Panzer II Flamm. Of these, FOW makes the sPzB41. It lacks any kind of carriage and seems to be made for a vehicle mount. Not ideal but what can you do. The Sdkfz 10/5, the Flak 30 and the PAK 38 I can get from Gaming Models at just $5.00 each. I could not find anyone who does a Panzer II Flamm. I contacted the guy from Gaming Models and he gave me a cryptic answer to contact him in two weeks. Hmmm.... That sounds interesting. Lastly is that PAK36(t). I have not been able to find one yet.

The only terrain item that I have no plan for is the roadblock. For early war, dragon teeth seem out of place to me. I am wondering if I had a wagon on its side and some boxes or something.

I also finished some wooden boxes. I plan on using these as Jump off Points. My current jump off points are small scenic items based on US Pennies. I was thinking about something larger. With a couple of boxes and some other stuff on it.

Once I have all of these taken care of, I think I will make sure I have a second platoon for both Germans and Soviets so I can try the Big Chain of Command with them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fun with Statistics

I just looked at some of the reports from Blogger and found some interesting things.

Adsense
I was searching for a better idea of what to expect from Blogger. There was a site that claimed each click can be worth anything from $0.02 to $15.00. Now there is no way to determine which ad would net anyone more money than another. It seems to be a super secret algorithm. So what have I seen?

I started with Adsense back in August of 2009. The first ad that was clicked was in December 2009. In total I have a whopping 87 ad clicks from you my loyal viewers. My single biggest day prior to today was December 28, 2012 when I had a total of 2 clicks gathering a total of $1.03 in theoretical revenue. Now on January 1st of this year, someone found an ad that was a $0.97 ad. Interesting but still largely meaning less. As of today, I have broken out to $31.50 in theoretical earnings. Thank you for your clicks. Please click another while you are here. Thanks.

Posts
In the past month, I ran a sale on my scenario books. This post pulled in 434 views. Significantly more than any other post during that same timeframe. A request for help on identifying Soviet tanks grabbed the number 2 spot with 220 views and old posts dealing with the launch of those scenario books that were on sale grabbed 131 for In the Name of Roma and 98 for The Coming Thunder. All time, the two biggest posts were for The coming Thunder with 2047 view and In the Name of Roma with 1063 views.

This completely makes sense as I have tried to advertise those particular posts more. But where did all of these come from? Believe it or not, the top referring site historically is the Miniature Page with 3177 referrals over the life of the blog. Despite their "entertaining" fights over the squabble dejure, they still seem to command the largest audience out there. But in the past month, it has been beaten out by several other sites. The number one referral was some Russian site that looks like a hosting page - http://www.xolodremont.ru/.

Number two was http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/. I really like this site. It allows anyone to post a news story for free. TMP used to let you if you were a supporting member. Now you have to be an advertiser. While the rates are not crippling for most, a scenario author who just wants to break 100 copies sold per self published book is not able to afford it. When I asked the editor about it, I was not entirely happy with the brusk dismissal that I received.

Next was from TooFatlardies.co.uk. This is no surprise since they are the guys who write the rules I use to base my scenario books on. Definitely a friendly audience for me. The Miniatures Page has dropped to Sixth place for the past month. Google seems to have risen above that.

So what does it all mean? Well, not much. It is just interesting. Its interesting to see that the draw from TMP is shrinking while Tabletop Gaming News is growing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Completing Early War German Chain of Command forces ... Hey! Look at this!

So I have been trying to get my Germans completed for Chain of Command. I started off last week making good progress. I managed to finish the basing on an ATR team and a Regular infantry squad.

In order to get the terrain items that I am missing from the Force Lists, I placed an order for some Barb Wire from Battlefield Accessories. I struggled with how to handle minefields. I really did not want to shell out money for the minefields that I see sold by Gale Force 9 or any of the other vendors. The rules call for a minefield that is 6" square. Mark suggested something so simple that I shook my head in frustration that why didn't I think of that. A simple marker for the mine field would be placed in its center. Then any infantry approaching it would potentially be in its grasp from 3" in any direction from the marker. So I broke off a piece of toothpick; cut out a small piece of paper; got glue, sand, a penny, paint and flock; and went to work. And the result it not high art but it works.

So things were progressing quite well last week. I was getting happy with my progress. Then the weekend happened. Somehow, I managed to take another look at a long forgotten piece of Styrofoam insulation that sat cast off in a corner. In my miniatures cabinet my unfinished Early Imperial Romans called out to me. Pulling open the drawer, I started to ponder where was I going with these. Before I knew it, I had out some knives and was putting some work on a section of a Roman Limes palisade.

What I have found is that the palisade fence was made with split logs with the flat side facing the enemy. Splitting anything to get a flat surface is more that I want to try in 15mm so I will ignore that bit. After the fence is a ditch. Beyond the ditch is a earthen wall that rose to the same height or taller than the fence. So I began work on getting this layout together for the piece.

I started by cutting the front section at a slant leading up to where the fence will be.

Next I dug a very rough looking ditch that will be behind the fence. I am not entirely happy with how it looks but I will smear the entire mess in PVA glue and sand at some point so that may fix it.

Next I cut off a piece of foam to shape as the wall that will reside behind the ditch. The angle of the hill is greater than what is shown in the pictures. You will just have to take my word that it looks much less crappy than the picture makes it look.

Then I cut the back side of the base piece to match the angle of the earthen wall and glued the hill to it. I then promptly, with out any prompting from my wife, vacuumed the giant mess I made on the living room floor. No, really!

So this has been sitting in the garage to dry since yesterday afternoon. I hope to find some cheap glue on a back to school sale somewhere so I can mix it up with a little water and sand and coat down the whole mess and let that dry. What I am trying to decide is if I should first make the fence part and then coat away or try to deal with the fence after coating the whole thing. I may go for buying toothpicks and making the fence first and using the glue mess to hold it all in together.

Anyway, now that Rich has released Big Chain of Command, I promise not to stray from finishing my Germans. No, really. I can do that. Oh, did I mention that I found some Centurion figures I like and ordered those over the weekend? Oh yeah, and some dials to go on my Litko flight stands too. But really, I will finish my Soviets and Germans for Chain. Did I see that Donnington has casualties for my EI Romans? hmmmm.......