Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sprucing up the factory

Taking a few minutes to breathe, I have decided that my rather vanilla looking factory needs something. I was recommended to add a patch to the roof. That was done easily enough but it still lacks something. My wife asked "Well, what about a sign saying what factory it is?" Well duh. I should have thought of that. So breaking out the virtual crayons, I have been busy attempting to figure out what to call stuff.

So off to Mr Google's wonderful translator. The first was something rather plain - Gorlovka Steel Works which worked out to: "Горловка Ϻеталлургический Завод". That seems simple enough. But making a sign that just says that would be.... boring. So back to Google to find something suitably officious. With that attempt, I came up with this.

A little more thinking and I decided that I can do better. Make the signs so that they can be removable and I can use this for different stuff. So I scratched my head and came up with this.

Завод Детского Питания - Baby Food Plant


Государственный Индустриальный Завод - State Industrial Plant

and because I just read the recent Stephen Hunter book Даллас Kнигохранилища - Dallas Book Repository.

Anyway, I would probably drop the text from the image and just print it and center it on the building. But how to mount. My thought is to glue some steel washers to the back of the signs. Then use magnets on the back to hold them in place. Anyway, its a thought.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chain of Command Preorders being taken

Rich has finally opened up for pre-orders of Chain of Command. Yea! These have been such fun to participate in play testing. The changes to the rules are rather a dramatic departure from their card driven system - on the surface. Honestly it took me a bit to get used to the mechanisms. Once I did, I really, really enjoyed them. Do I miss the cards? Yes. Are there some things that you can't do because the cards are not present? No. It makes scenario design more challenging but it has not really prevented any actions I was looking to see in the game.

For example, in Troops, Weapons and Tactics, to trigger an action, you have a card in the deck for that. I use a blank card that when it turns up 'x' number of times, an event will occur (reinforcements, troops are allowed to withdraw from a defensive position without penalty or any number of things). With Chain of Command, this is still doable. One just has to be more creative. Using a count of the number of Full Chain of Command dice that get generated is one option.

The advantage of the Dice activation is that the game moves much faster. Even my bumbling first attempts worked themselves out quite quickly.

The rules work great with 15mm miniatures. Every game I have played with has used 15s. The rules come with some canned scenarios to try out and hopefully, I will have my scenario pack out with about 10 to 15 scenarios tailored to these rules. Anyway, Chain of Command are definitely worth a look. I am looking at ordering the "Big Bundle" at some point. The prices on just the PDF are not up yet but they are a great value and an easy way to check the rules out before committing to a bigger purchase.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Some fun summer Reading or Learing about the Afghan Frontier in 1917

One of the blogs I am following is a developing campaign set in Afghanistan from before WWI to just after it. The blog, Waziristan on a Fancy has just put up their first scenario for their campaign. Its a wonderful diversion with period descriptions of colonial actions that quite frankly I had never heard of before nor was likely to until I stumbled upon his blog.

He is focusing on the Late/Post WWI time period. The veterans of the Great War are few and far between and the British Army in India is not the same as the Men who fought across France and Belgium. The Afghan's are a colorful collection of troops with a wide assortment of weapons. He is sorely tempting me to look at a new period. Anyway, check out if you have a spare minute. You will not regret it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mucking around with a camera in desparate need of help

Well, I am working on finishing out the book. Since pictures are important, I have stolen my wife's camera and tripod and set myself to work. Rather than setting up any particular scenario, I threw something together to take a few "test" pictures to play around with the camera and its settings. Well here is what I came up with.

I set up the table to have a small river with a ford and a village beyond it. The Italians were storming their way across the ford with a rifle section while two LMG teams were providing cover fire. There are a few casualties among the charging Italians. In the village are two squads of Soviets and a MMG team behind a fence. The MMG team has suffered a few casualties but I am not sure you can even see the casualty markers behind the fence. Now, on to the pictures.

I tried to crop the picture down to just the main action. The shot is over the shoulders of the attacking Italians as they head towards the MMG location.

Here is a shot of one of the Russian Squads as it rushes towards the sound of the guns.

Here is a different angle of the Soviet MMG Team. You can just make out one of the casualty figures there. Plus some brave Socialist cows standing before the enemy. Is including livestock a good idea in these pictures?

This is similar to one of the above images but cropped differently.

Just a generic picture of the town before miniatures were inserted. Is a generic terrain shot like this useful?

I need help with this as I don't have a good eye for what makes a great picture. I have a Cannon Rebel digital camera. I set the fStop to 9.0 and the ISO to 1600 for these pictures. I read about these things on Trouble at the Mill's blog but really don't understand them other than it lets in more light and light is good. Would pictures like this be interesting to anyone purchasing a scenario supplement (provided they were related to the scenarios of course)?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Maps are Finished!

Well, I just finished the last map update for the CSIR scenario set. The last to do is to get some pictures taken to have game shots in the supplement. Also, I am waiting to hear from some of my play testers as well.

On less happy news, the varnish is all dry on my house and I am not sure I am happy with it. It came across as very dark. It does have kind of a not maintained look about it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Terrain Blues and Avoiding Maps

I have been struggling to finish painting some terrain. I am staring at my warehouse building. It is sitting there about 1/4 painted. The building is so flat I am just not sure how to spruce it up. I used some ink on my tin roofed building and it has severely changed the look of the building and I am not sure if it is for the better. Lastly, I purchased some more fencing on e-bay. The attraction was that the fence pieces were painted and flocked. Well the fences are fantastic. But the guy used a static grass on them that does not match the flock I have been using on my few painted items. So I have had to spend a day scrapping static grass from the bases, repainting and reflocking. Hmmm... That did not work out as convenient as I thought it would.

Still, things are moving. I hope to finish the Matt Varnish of the one building tonight. I may even finish off some more fence pieces. I have five left of that order to do.

As for avoiding maps, well I have four left to finish. I managed to start one of those 4 today. Not sure if I am going to get it finished today.

Another Prize Drawing

There have been a rash of these lately. Well the best ointment is to go sign up. After all... its free stuff.

This guy has one of the more interesting prize draws that I have seen so far.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Great Game I Missed

If you have not seen one of Mark's games, you are missing a treat. He creates some unbelievable terrain. I had the opportunity to attend one of his Sharp Practice games but as my schedule normally goes, I had to miss it. Mark just sent me the link to the game and WOW! What he is able to achieve is just amazing. Take a look at his Flickr site. There are some descriptions of the actions there. Well worth the visit. I am now shaking my head in shame that I missed this.

Updates on Supplement and Terrain

Well I have been busy attempting to finish off the terrain for the scenario book. The Mark IV house is going well. The inside floor and walls are done. I am considering ignoring the rest of the inside. The outside is coming along. I have the ground outside painted, the walls mostly done and the roof is close to done.

I still can't take very good photos with my phone. I will try to get my wife's camera and a tripod later.

But I also have a warehouse from GameCraft miniatures. It is a nice model. I asked and they recommended priming it with an automotive primer to keep the MDF from warping. Not having any on hand, I grabbed a can of spray model airplane dope. The primer was "aluminum" color. I am not really sure what to do with painting it. I have painted the roof a gray color and a dirty white for the walls. This one I am no where near finished with. I actually need some help figuring this out.

Anyway, Things are moving right along.

I have 8 maps left to redo for the book. Once that is done, its time for a photo shoot. We will see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Google Plus Ate My Comments

I don't get a bunch of comments on my blog but I noticed, that I had not gotten any in a while. Then I looked at a few pages that had a bunch of hits and there were comments. It seems Google Plus was hiding my comments. Turning this off did not help in now those comments are gone. Technology is not always a good thing. No clue how to find the missing comments in that I could not see them on my Google plus page either. Nor did I get a notification like the settings said I should. Well, maybe things will improve.....

Scenario Maps - Suggestions Welcome

What are folks looking for in scenario maps? I am at the point of redoing all of the scenario maps in my CSIR supplement to spruce things up. So, given this, i thought I would ask the group their opinion.

Now here is one of my MS Paint attempts that I originally had in the book. It is actually one of the better efforts.

That map has gone to the rubbish heap to be replaced by...

The maps are further described in the text.

"The terrain is dominated by a large hill that covers much of the table. The slope of the hill is gentle enough to be accessible by foot or vehicle without significant movement penalty. The top right corner and bottom left corner are the only lower areas. The road cuts across the table from top right to bottom left. The road has been soaked by recent storms and each unit must make a bog check on moving. Do this by rolling 1d6 for each squad sized force. On a roll of a 6, one of the motorcycles has become bogged. The fields are wheat and sunflower fields with small paths separating the fields. The wheat fields have been harvested while the sunflower fields have not. There are scattered haystacks throughout the wheat fields. These may be driven down by motorcycles but not by trucks. Troops in the fields are treated as harder to spot than those on the road."

The new map breaks up the table into 1' x 1' squares giving a 6' by 4' table.

Is there something that I should add to these? Is there more to the description that someone would need to set this table up? ***Update 7/10/2013 ****

Here is another update following the feedback I have received so far.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Terrain Progress - Mark IV Brick Building

I managed to do a little more work on the Mark IV building. It is coming along very slowly. I have one side nearly done and need to do the other 3 as well as the interior. The roof got some attention but need way more.

Big Lee's Giveaway - 1 million page views

Big Lee is doing a giveaway for 1 million page views. Can't fathom such a thing myself. A million views. Anyway, head on over and congratulate the man.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

GameCraft Miniatures Warehouse Arrived

My Gamecraft Miniatus warehouse arrived yesterday. It is a beautiful and large building. My only gripe is the same with any of the MDF buildings, they are some assembly required. I did not let that daunt me and immediately set to work.

The kit comes flat with all the pieces laying together. There are two large doors for a loading bay. The smaller, human sized doors are not included.

The first step was to clue the main part of the building together. That was relatively easy. I used a wood glue but I later received an e-mail from Game Craft that said Super Glue would have worked just fine. That is good to note for the future. Next was to get the roof together at the correct angle. I glued some scrap wood cut into a triangle between the two roof halves so I would be able to have a removable roof for games.

The kit does not come with interior walls. These will have to be fashioned myself. I was trying to figure out what to do for this. I guess I need some sort of office area and then the open factory floor area.

Next step is priming the building. Game Craft recommends an automotive primer to prevent warping. I will see what I have availible and get some work done on it tonight. I hope to have at least the outside painted this week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Initial Draft Complete - In the Name of Roma!

I have just put the the finishing touches on the last scenario. It is complete. So, what is in it?

Well there are six campaigns.
Campaign 1 - The battle for Two Rivers August 10-12. This has five scenarios for company level rules (IABSM in particular but could be done with FOW or Crossfire).
Campaign 2 - With the Vikings at Kiluskino and Verhnieprovsk August 18 - 21st. These are five scenarios for platoon level rules (Chain of Command or Troops, Weapons and Tactics but would work with Bolt Action or Arc of Fire).
Campaign 3 - Petrikovka Campaign September 1941. There are six scenarios that are a combination of platoon and company level scenarios.
Campaign 4 - The Donets Campaign October 13th - 31st. Another six scenarios at either the platoon or company size.
Campaign 5 - Gorlovko November 1 - 5th. A mere 4 scenarios covering the seizure of this industrial town. Mostly Company level scenarios in urban/suburban terrain.
Campaign 6 - Nikitovka November 6 - 12. Four more scenarios covering this tragic campaign that found the 80th Roma trapped behind enemy lines and the heroic effort to break it out.

That is a total of 30 scenarios featuring the Italian units of the Corpo Spedzione Italiano in Russia (CSIR) as they advance over 1400 kilometers across the Ukraine in the Fall of 1941.

The scenarios are still being play tested and this time they will include photographs of games in play. Also the scenario maps are being beautified as my initial efforts with MS Paint look like my four year old drew them. So far, this is going better than I thought.

At this point, the book is 150 pages. Once some graphic work is done, that will grow it a little bit.

Monday, July 1, 2013