Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Update

With July here, I am mapping out my plans for the rest of the summer. I’ll have my usual slow-down for summer yardwork (I don’t really enjoy the yardwork, but it is my repayment to my wife for all the time I spend on hobby and other fun stuff), but I still have a few gaming projects planned for the summer.

On the miniatures side, I’ve been working putting together my 1/700 scale modern Japanese missile boats and Chinese frigate. I have pans to use these models, along with the fishing boats that came in the same box as the Japanese ships, with naval (Bulldogs Away rules) or air (AirWar C21 rules) games. I’ve had the models for a while and it will be nice to have them done. I’ll get some pictures of these up when they are completed.
The box art for the Japanese missile boats I'm working on
The PLAN Type 054A+ frigate I got some time ago
As with the past two years, I’m planning some more solitaire gaming this summer. This year I’m pulling out my copy (and a VASSAL virtual game) of Tokyo Express. I’ve had this game for a long time, but it has been a while since it has been on the table. I’m going to use the campaign out of The General Volume 28 Issue 5 as the basis for the game.
Tokyo Express gamebox cover (from Boardgame Geek)
I’ve also been playing the new Cold Waters computer game. It is basically an update and reimagining of the old Red Storm Rising computer game by the team that did Pacific Fleet and Atlantic Fleet. You get to command one U.S. submarine during World War III, so the scope and play are very different from the company's Fleet games. I like the game, it is pretty fun and true to its roots.
One of the promo images from the game
I have a few other ideas waiting in the wings as time permits. I’ll share those as they come up in the queue, but this is a good start for summer.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review - The Earth is Weeping

The Earth is Weeping: The Epic story of the Indian Wars for the American West is a one volume history of the Western American Indian Wars. This book covers a lot of ground and while author Peter Cozzens does not go into details for all the events, he does include and talk about all the major events.

The book starts out in 1861 with the Dakota Sioux uprising and goes on to cover Red Cloud’s War, the Modoc uprising, battles in Apacheria with Cochise, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the pursuit of the Nez Perce, the pursuit of Geronimo, ending with the Ghost Dancers and Wounded Knee.

Because the opposing forces involved are small, when compared to most long wars, Cozzens is able to provide enough detail on to keep things interesting. But overall, Cozzens writing style is more text book and history than sweeping colorful epic. That said, the book does provide insight into what the different Indian tribes, leaders, and generals were thinking during each of the conflicts.

The western Indians never really united to oppose the white settlers and soldiers. There were times they formed temporary alliances, but mostly they continued to make war on each another, while some joined with the soldiers against tribes that were old enemies (Apaches often scouted for the U.S. Army against other Apaches and several Plains tribes worked with the Army).

Cozzens does a good job of showing the rivalries between tribes, Army generals, and even the United States’ Indian policies. He clearly talks about the injustice of broken treaties, but he also covers abuses by Indians against settlers and other tribes.

At the beginning of the book Cozzens says that he wrote the book to try to bring historical balance to the story of the Indian wars and I think he succeeded. Overall, the book provides good coverage of the American Indian Wars and ties them together, and I would recommend it. However, if you are looking for detailed accounts of a particular campaign, you might want to look for a specific book on the campaign.

For gamers, this book can provide a lot of scenario ideas, names, and places for Indian War battles. But it won’t give you a stirring narrative to build battles around. For that I would suggest some John Ford movies.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Enfilade 2017 Recap: Part 1 - Other People's Games

Enfilade 2017 wrapped up on Sunday and it has taken a couple days to collect my thoughts and sort through my photos. Enfilade 2017 was another well run and attended convention. This year there were over 350 attendees, more than 65 game presenters, and over 130 events. All of which are record numbers, so it seems like the convention is on solid footing. The Enfilade staff should be congratulated on another great convention.

The theme for 2017 was Invasions and there were lots of games that focused on the theme.

As per my normal Enfilade recap, I’m doing two Enfilade posts; one on the general convention and other people's games and a second covering the games I ran. This post will cover the general convention stuff. I tried to take photos of most of the games, but not all of them turned out and with over 65 evens I just didn’t get to them all. Note this is a long post with lots of photos.

Friday Games 
Friday afternoon used to be pretty quiet and was a good time to catch up with people you hadn’t seen in a year. However, this year was different as the afternoon was busy with lots of games and that carried over into the evening. Here are some photos from the first two gaming periods.

Tarawa invasion
WWII ABDA vs. the Japanese

An American War of Independence game using the Sharpe's Practice rules

Battle of Magnesia

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

(fuzzy) Confederate ironclads try to break the blockade

All Quiet on the Martian Front

Napoleonic French vs. Russians on the Road to Borodino

TUSK really ancient hunting game
WWI Baltic naval brawl

Battle of the Bulge game

Chariot Racing

A Chosen Men game somewhere in Spain

Dwarven mine dispute

Galactic Knights game

Hannibal crossing the Rhone

Harpoon battle in the Baltic

Japanese vs. Australians in the Outback

Russo-Japanese War Pre-dreadnought action
Napoleonic Messenger game (I need to get a copy of these rules)

Omaha Beach D-Day invasion (this was the overall theme winner for the convention)
Pre-dreadnought British vs Russians and Germans

It wouldn't be Friday at Enfilade without Thunderboats

A demo game of Test of Honor

Saturday Games
Saturday morning I ran my Captain’s Edition: Harpoon game (which you can read about in this post), so I only got a handful of photos from the morning. But here are other photos from Saturday.
Battle of Trebia
Canvas Eagles WWI Air

Car Wars auto-duel arena

Jousting action

Island of the Crocodile God
Conquistador raiding party attacks the Aztecs

Battle of Hastings

Napoleonic Battle of Eckmul

More Martians!

More Napoleonics

A Pike and Shotte game

The Canadians get ready to head over the top at Vimy Ridge

Austria vs Bavaria Black Powder battle

Conquistadors attack Aztec pyramids 

Harpoon Battle in the Maldives
Imjin War battle
Barsoom Rescue
Search for the Holy Grail

Wild West shootout

Mongols vs. Russians Lion Rampant game


Sunday Games
On Sunday morning, Kevin and I ran our 13 Days goes Hot (yes, it is a lame title, but I could think of anything catchy when I was filling out the event form) Cuban Missile Crisis game. But I did grab a few photos of the other games.
Convoy along the Mohawk, French and Indian War

Gnome Wars!

It wouldn't be Sunday morning without a trip to the Luminous Toad

Pulp Alley - Casablanca game

Star Fleet Call to Arms

A reprise of the Tarawa game

That’s all the photos for this year. I obviously didn't get photos of all the games, but I hope you like what is here. Overall the games were a lot of really great looking games this year.