Monday, November 12, 2007

Paul's After Action Report

I second Ray’s comments above. Spectacular doesn’t do justice to describe what took place.

I too was particularly pleased the number of youngsters that took an active part in the game. It gives hope that historical miniatures will continue to have interest. And needless to say, we had some more ‘senior’ players alongside the young, forgetting the age difference and focused on beating the guys on the other side.

Brits and Spaniards, with a mix of a few foreign regiments, struggled to hold a ridge against a French/Allied (included Germans and Italians) army. At first things looked tenuous on the British right flank, see/sawing back and forth between cavalry, the French finally emerging victorious and over-running British guns. Fortunately, the French cavalry were too well spent to followup and roll up the British from that flank.
On the left flank, Spanish cavalry, with supporting artillery, defied history and scattered 3 French/Italian heavy cavalry regiments, leaving the 13th Cuirassiers staring across the table at Spanish dragoons and a Division of infantry.

Masses of French and German battalions struggled up a long ridge in the center. The focus of hours of excitement, the Brits and French broke, reformed, fired, melee’d and did it all over again and again. In left center, Spanish infantry were locked in musketry with Italians, neither side budging as ranks depleted.

The Spanish village at the British right/center was quickly occupied the French, but they saw no advantage to spreading the attack across the ridge line, bringing in all available infantry to smash the center. The Brits were quick to manoeuvre infantry to plug the holes.

After almost 8 hours of play and spectators continuing to join in to pick up where others left off, the continuity of the game continued to flow. Seemed that new players stepped right into the tactics.

Towards the end of the day, French and Brits were still locked in combat in the center, units on the British right flank in square to ward of any remaining pesky French/German light cavalry.

Some Hessians reinforced the Italians against the Spanish, with the 13th Cuirassiers finally deciding to wake up. At the end of the evening, it was obvious the Spanish were too weak and outmaneuvered, the Cuirassiers poised to punch a great hole on the side. In the center, neither the French nor the Brits were ready to concede.

A particular attractive anomaly to Wellington’s Rules is the concept of stragglers. The players that joined in seemed to favor the rule, with the opportunity to recover stragglers in later turns and return them to the ranks.

The 8 hours of play went quick. The only way to be bored was to be comatose. The spectacle alone of beautifully finished figures with flags/banners/eagles waving across the 24x6’ table couldn’t help but to impress.

My thanks to my two friends Ed and Ray for inviting me to help GM the event.

In the end, I carried my figures back home to Houston, unpacking and resetting my own personal table in my game room. The gratification of Millennium X and the common interest of gamers from across the country reinforced why I chose to devote 30 years to this hobby. Looking forward to Millennium XI

Ray's Report...with pictures!

Well the game has come and gone. I have to say that I was quite pleased with the way it came off. Wellington Rules! are simple enough for the large covention and neophytes, yet meaty enough to satisfy the experienced Napoleonics players. There was a lot of praise for the straggler rules and the orders systems.

As to the game itself, I have to thank Chip and rest of the covention staff for locating the game way up in front were everyone coming in or leaving had to to walk past. The number of comments to effect of "Oh ^%&%, look at that!" as people turned the corner and say the huge table with almost 2000 miniatures was very satisfying to both Ed, Paul and myself.

This game was so big that it's impossible to give an After Action Report other than to say that everyone seemed to have a good time, the rules worked well and the convention venue was perfect for our game. Now here's some pictures to give you an idea what went on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quick post--my few pics of the big game

Just got back from Millennium Con X. Our game was a great success, with 20 some players over the course of the day, and lots of kind words on the look. See for yourself (click on pictures for larger versions):

Overview before the game started:











French Light Cavalry:









The Spanish village:

















The European village:

















French infantry approaching the ridge:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Presentation of eagles

GMB flags, Old Glory figures from DJD, Fernando, and PhilGreg painting services. Bases by Litko.

All I did was base the figures, cut off the Old Glory staffs, and replace them with wire.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We've been working hard...

We've not posted in a while because we've been working so hard. There's tons of stuff to do! However, my main task is done! Yessir! I've completed the painting of my share of the British troops. And here they are:

What you see above is:
  • CinC (Wellington), 1 figure
  • 9lb Royal Foot Artillery, 3 models and 9 figures

  • Brigadier (Hill), 1 figure
  • 95th Rifles (1 coy), 2 figures
  • 14th Foot (Buckinghamshire), 20 figures
  • 30th Foot (Cambridgeshire), 20 figures
  • 39th Foot (Dorsetshire), 20 figures

  • Brigadier (Piction), 1 figure
  • 95th Rifles (1 coy), 2 figures
  • 2nd Royal Guards (Coldstream), 24 figures
  • 42nd Highland (Black Watch), 24 figures
  • 92nd Highland (Gordon), 24 figures

  • Brigadier (Steerwitz), 1 figure
  • 95th Rifles (1 coy), 2 figures
  • 23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 20 figures
  • 40th Foot (2nd Somersetshire), 20 figures
  • 69th Foot (South Lincolnshire), 20 figures

  • Brigadier (Uxbridge), 1 figure
  • 12th Light Cavalry (Prince of Wales Own), 16 figures
  • 1st King’s Dragoon Guards, 8 figures
  • 2nd North British Dragoons (Scots Greys), 8 figures
  • 6lb Royal Horse Artillery, 3 models and 9 figures

This is 252 men, 36 horses and 6 guns painted for Millennium. This, of course is only a small part of the entire game in which up to 20 players (each commanding one Brigade). We are figuring on brigades being about 3 battalions. Of course, if there are fewer players we can form larger brigades. Paul Bishop and Ed Youngstrom will contribute the rest of the figures.

Go to the Millennium X website and pre-register and sign up for your place at the table!

"Take command of a brigade of Napoleonic infantry or cavalry in this corps vs corps engagement loosely based on several of battles in Spain. All figures will be provided, but if you have 25mm troops based 24-figures (or so) to the battalion and 4 troopers to the squadron, bring 'em along!! Rules are 30:1, and each side will have a reinforced we expect almost 2,000 figures on the table."
This is game number: MN21 and it begins on Saturday afternoon.

The ground we fight on...

This is the table cover for MillenniumCon 2007. Since this is a corps-size Napoleonic game, with 24-figure battalions, we figured we need LOTS of manuever room.

There will a styrofoam ridgeline in the center where the big monochrome light green splotch is, and of course it will be decorated with trees, lichen, buildings, and a thousand or two figures!

A ground cloth may not be the most beautiful thing, but it beats plain felt in looks and is a lot more portable than terrain boards when you drive a Honda...


Friday, June 1, 2007

Memorial Day at Lttle Wars

Chris Pettet of Little Wars in Houston


Ed (left) and Bob

I flew to San Antonio to visit Ed and family for the Memorial Day weekend. Ed had met Paul Bishop on-line and they had arranged a Wellington Rules game at the Little Wars game store in Houston. So we drove down on Saturday morning, arriving somewhat late due to weather, and we were greeted by Paul, Bob and masses of Pauls troops already arrayed on the table.
Paul had played the rules solo before and Bob was a complete neophyte. Ed and I had but played a couple of times and only one real game. We were all starting off on practically the same foot.
We played most of the day. I won't bore you with details. Suffice it to say that the game went much smoother that the others we played. There was much more confidence in what we were doing. After all, we had discovered the areas that we really had questions about and discussed them with Buck Surdu, the author, prior to this game.
Ed and I were very impressed with Paul's troops and the way in which Paul played and interacted with us. So much so that we've invited him to help us in November. I really hope he can make it as the game will be huge with a lot of players to try to assist.
As for the game itself, well you can see the by the pictures that it was a pretty good size. However with four players it turns were quick.
...and the result...well let's just say that Ed and Bob's French weren't having a really good day.


Armand & Andre

As an aside we met Matt Gerard and his two boys Armand (left) and Andre. Matt has interested his boys in historical gaming with DBA. Good job dad!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Marshal Suchet wants YOU!

This lovely figure is from Front Rank, painted by Dragon Painting Service, and showed up on my doorstep this afternoon.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Travails of Painting Services

Overall I am quite pleased with the results from my assorted painting services. There is absolutely no way I could have done this myself this fast. However, there have been a few rough spots, so here are some tips.

1. Don't assume the painter knows anything. Try to provide a picture backed up by specific text. The painter may indeed be quite knowledgeable, but they're thinking the 1809 Uniform A when you really mean the 1812 Uniform B. This is especially true if your unit includes figures that vary slightly, such as elites in different headgear.

2. Be precise. Don’t say “yellow” if you mean “that chamois/yellow-green you see in this picture.”

3. If possible, sort and package your figures yourself, with the painting instructions attached to each group of figures. I have two regiments that were somehow reversed in the painting process (Regiment X figures were painted as Regiment Y, and vice versa). Not a huge problem and it's getting fixed, but if I had actually attached the painting instructions to the figures, it might have been avoided.

4. Pack your figures yourself. Be especially careful with bayonets, swords, and plumes. The painters probably can’t fix it if the figures arrive broken.

5. If possible, send a small unit or buy a sample. Pictures on a website help, but there’s nothing like having a figure in your hand or standing on your table for inspection.

That said, I have two painting services that I would like to recommend. There are others out there, and when I start posting all of the units I will show which service painted which unit.

First is Dragon Painting Service in Hong Kong. They sell pre-painted units on Ebay in a number of scales and eras. They are relatively expensive, in the the $7 US to $8 for a foot figure, including the figure. See the cuirassiers below. Turn around for special orders has averaged about two months.

The other recommendation is Fernando Enterprises of Sri Lanka. I think the figures on their website don't look nearly as good as the figures they have sent me. Price is in the US $1.50 to 3.50 range, NOT including the figure.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The good, the bad, and the Neapolitans

If you have made it this far into our blog, you know that Im not much of a painter. But I am painting a portion of this army. I wanted units that were relatively interesting, but that no one cared how they look, or how they perform. That way, if they fail, no one is surprised!

So Im painting my Neapolitan contingent. For the game, the player commanding the Neapolitan units will be given a choice: field the unit at full strength, but subject to the rules on “Untested Units” which tend to result in poor performance, or to use them at greatly reduced strength but known and (slightly) improved quality. The latter choice represents the units’ state in the later campaigns, when they had shed most of the questionable elements and consisted of the remaining, battle-hardened veterans. See Charles Oman’s History of the Peninsular War, Volume 5 for more information on them. The actual page is available as part of the Amazon preview!

Here come the cuirassiers!

Front Rank Figurines painted by Dragon Painting Service, Hong Kong.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What's Left for the French

My French army is nearing completion. Here are the statistics:

Infantry has 20 of 25 battalions

  • 2 have not been ordered yet
  • 3 are primed but not yet painted by me

Cavalry has 22 of 30 squadrons

  • 4 are on order (woo hoo! Front Rank 13th Cuirassiers…Big figures!)
  • 4 are on hand but not primed for painting by me

Artillery has 4 of 5 batteries

  • 1 is not yet ordered

However, I do have some other resources. I have 2 Baden battalions, a Baden battery, and a French dragoon regiment that were not part of the original plan, so I can now put the right number of units on the board, just not the ones planned!

There is one drawback, though. The sudden surge of reinforcements outstripped the basing service--which is me! I decided that basing all the figures myself would help them tie them together visually. I have used up all of my first purchases of Litko bases, and am awaiting delivery on the rest. Then I have to actually terrain and flock the bases.

Flags are another matter. I am using GMB Flags. I have most of those required on hand, but still need to put then on the figures. In some cases I have good flagpoles, but I don't have enough. Any recommendations?

Sadly, I am having camera and photography skill meltdown, so no pictures tonight!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

French and Allied reinforcements

As mentioned before, I am raising the French forces for our convention game. "Raising" in this context is a particularly apt description, since I'm buying them, not painting them myself with one minor exception.

My method was to purchase a bunch of lead and farm it out to several painting services. I did this for two reasons:

1. I did not think one service could handle it all in a timely manner; and

2. I wanted to try some different services, with an eye to sending more figures to those I liked.

Reason number one has succeeded marvelously. In the last two months I have received:

9 French, 8 German, and 2 Italian battalions

2 French, 2 German, and 1 Italian cavalry regiments

3 French and 3 German artillery batteries.

That's about 550 figures! Together with the small forces that arrived before Christmas, I have therefore accumulated the bulk of my army. Over the next few days I will post a few pictures and describe what remains to be done.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Latest Wellington Rules test

Has it really been over two months since we updated? That "real life" I keep hearing about must have got in the way...

Ray was out over the President's Day weekend. We played another test game, this time using newly arrived French reinforcements to give them a 2:1 advantage over the British brigade. But we put the British on a ridge to give them an advantage.

We set up fairly close, with three British battalions in line on the ridge, with their skirmish companies out and a screen of Rifles, too. The Light Dragoons had the right flank, and a battery was in the center.

The French had 3 battalions on the left, a foot battery in the left center, 3 more battalions in the right center, and a brigade of two light cavalry regiments and a horse battery on the right. So the opposing cavalry were at opposite ends of the board. The infantry had orders to “Take the ridge” and the cavalry “Attack the British left flank unit.”

As the game started, the Light Dragoons charged a French column which failed to form square.

On the other side, the French cavalry had a poor order roll, and the Hussar regiment rolled “like peer unit” so both regiments charged a British battalion, which successfully formed square, bounced the cavalry, and made the French spend three turns rallying and bringing them back.

Meanwhile in the center, several French battalions charged through the British skirmishers to try to reach the French line.

During the ensuing melee in the center, one French battalion was broken, and the brigadier killed. So, this broken unit (and it's whole brigade) had to get a Random Order the next turn.

In this case, it got “same as peer unit” but the nearest peer unit was charging. We ruled the Broken Unit got no order. But remember those British Light Dragoons? By now they had finally destroyed the French battalion they had charged, and the Light Dragoons moved into the rear of the French center. There, they met this broken French battalion running away from the British line and destroyed it as well. That's two for the Light Dragoons!

Another French battalion charged the British battery, and the artillerists took the Fire and Retire option. The next turn, the French battalion was occupying the guns, and the just-returned light cavalry brigade had finished destroying the British flank battalion, which had been blasted by the horse battery and failed to form square.

We finally called the game at this point, after 6 turns. The British definitely prevailed on their right, but the French were successful on the other end. Things were looking grim for a couple damaged French battalions in the center that had Light Dragoons behind them, but the French right flank was turning toward the center and had two intact cavalry regiments, both batteries, and two fresh battalions left.

The visuals of the game were good, even though we used whatever terrain the local store had on hand, and most of the castings were on unfinished bases. It definitely gave us some more motivation for painting more troops and playing more games, leading up to our planned game at MillenniumCon this fall.

Sadly, we forgot to bring a camera.

Tomorrow I'll go into the hordes of French reinforcements...and maybe have a picture!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Well, in their usual excellent fashion, got me the miniatures I ordered in short order. The acquisition of the miniatures that I need has been divided into three phases. Phase 1 is the British foot, Phase 2 is the British cavalry, and Phase 3 is the Brunswickers.

I've received the Phase 1 miniatures Saturday afternoon--only about a week for the time that I ordered them! Needless to say, I was excited to see them sitting on my porch when I returned home from getting some lunch. A quick check of the weather report showed that I had until about 3pm on Sunday before the rain was due. Since I like to primer with Floquil applied with a soft brush, time was critical if I wanted to paint this week.

The photos were taken at about 2am Sunday when I finally got all the figures cleaned and glued (with rubber cement) to the bottle caps. Sunday morning I got up early and got the two Highland battalions (48 figures), the figures needed to fill out the Guards battalion (17 figures), the artillerists (8 figures) and whatever Brunswickers I had laying around (12 figures) before the clouds thickened and rain was obviously imminent. That leaves 4 battalions (80 figures) left to prime when the weather clears later this week.

I've pulled the base colors from the paint box and probably begin this evening with doing the flesh tones. The next installment will be an account of how I painted the troops that are already done including a list of the paints used.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

And so it begins...

The first order is in! I've ordered all the British foot need for my part of the game. It's a big order that will complete 6 line, 2 highlander, and 1 Guards battalions. In addition, the guns and a foot artillerists are in the order.

I have begun the rebasing of the LPE troops I painted for Millennium 9 (the British foot and all the cavalry is what you see in the picture of my workbench). The Brunswickers are off the 3" stands and have been cleaned up. I ran out of Litko bases, but I have a ton of them on order.

The British figures are all Foundry and have been ordered through Neal at the It looks as though it might be two or three weeks before they arrive. That gives me some time to get ahead on the rebasing and painting of the figures "left over" from the LPE project.

In case you're wondering about how easy rebasing can be... The figures were glued onto the bases 3" bases for LPE. The bases were Litko and white glue was used on almost all of the figures (there were a couple that refused to stand up without the aid of super-glue). The figures were pretty easy to snap of the bases. I worked a common steak knife under the edge of the figure's base to loosen it and then just pulled it off. Only a couple of figures suffered any damage and that was limited to a couple of flakes of paint around the ankles. Since the flocking was also glued on with with white glue, I stood all the figures in a glass baking dish ankle deep in water. It only took a few hours to soften the glue. the glue was scraped off with a wooden toothpick (to avoid scratching the paint). The figure's base was then lightly scrubbed with a stiff brush to get any glue and flock out of any crevices.

Well, I've got plenty to paint while I wait for the Foundry order to arrive. Leader figures are high on the list. I need to paint the the remaining figures out of the Foundry Wellington set (I only needed two for the LPE game). There are five on foot and I 'm thinking of a making diorama for them.

And so it begins...

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

First Game

Click on the picture to see a larger, more legible version

The highlighted units entered on the turn indicated. The closest British battalion charged up the hill at the French battalion. The British were in line and the French were in column. The French countercharged and the results (for the British) were ugly.

The other British unit tried to advance into range of the building but were chewed up turn after turn by the French artillery on the heights. About halfway there, the British were charged by the French cavalry that you see next to the artillery. The British formed a hasty square and repulsed the cavalry which fled past the town.

On turn 5 the British cavalry entered on the far side and charged the French guns to silence them. The other British foot battalion entered behind the cavalry and started to make their way up the hill.

The French artillery decided to run away from the cavalry in hopes of returning. It didn't work that way. The guns and artillerists were overrun and the British cavalry broke through. The cavalry shot forward and collided with the French cavalry that were in retreat from the square above the town. The French broke quickly but the British horses were blown.

Here is the email we sent to Buck Surdu after the game, with Buck's reply added in red:

Hi Buck,

It’s Ray & Ed here in San Antonio. We hope the holidays were good to you.

We had our first chance to have a go with Wellington rules a couple of days ago. Ed set up a scenario and we played it through. We didn’t do it to play as much as get a grasp of the WR mechanics.

Having had played The Sword and Flame years ago, I had a pretty good idea what I was in for with the variable movement and stragglers. However placing those mechanics in the context of musket ranges and effectiveness was a hurdle I had to cross.

The first melee demonstrated the foolishness of getting caught in line by a battalion in column as my British two line infantry disintegrated when Ed charged with a larger three line French battalion.

However, when my British light dragoons overran his battery and then continued on to smack into his cavalry, there wasn’t much left of either. The British LD’s horses were blown in the process but were still able to do significant damage.

In the end, we had a good time and we think that we understand most of the rules as you have written them. However, there were some points about which we are unclear.

The first is whether firing arcs are measured from the center of each casting or the center of the unit (reference section 9, paragraph 2 compared to paragraph 5 and figure 5). My impression is the fire is conducted by unit, but arcs and ranges are by individual castings. The reference to the arc of a unit in the second paragraph and in the figure is really describing the beaten ground.

Buck's Answer: Firing arcs are measured by figure, so it is possible for some of the figures to be able to fire at a target but not all of them.

This ties into another question. We had an instance wherein only a portion of a firing unit’s casting were eligible to fire on a target. However the remaining castings another target within their range and arc. Can the unit, in this case, split fire? The 5th paragraph in section 9 would seem to indicate not, but that reference might be assuming that there are no other eligible targets available to casting within a firing unit.

Buck's Answer: A unit may only fire at multiple targets if the unit has been issued more than one order during the order phase. This can create a challenge for a player who thinks he is about to be charged by multiple columns. You either have to dilute your fire by breaking the firing unit into multiple firing "platoons" hoping to force all the columns to fail their rolls to close, or really smack one hoping to remove that units weight from the subsequent melee.

The cavalry action described above prompted another question. Can blown horses be recovered at any point during the game? We could find nothing in the rules that tells us explicitly that once blown they stay that way for the duration of the game. In the absence of any instruction on how to rest cavalry, we assumed that they stay that way.

Buck's Answer: Blown horses remain blown for the remainder of the game.

Well, that’s about it for now. I have to say that the rules seem pretty clear and crisp. If you can give us clear guidance on the questions above, we would be most appreciative. If you would like to monitor the progress of our project to get this Wellington Rules mega-game on the table at Millennium 10, visit our blog at from time to time.

Ray & Ed