Thursday, 30 June 2016

DIY battle mat

I decided to do some work on my gaming tablecloth to turn it into a battle mat for my 6mm armies.

My tablecloth is a 7.5' x 5' piece of polar fleece.

Here is what it looked like.

I was hoping to make it look like a bunch of fields. I didn't want to try and paint roads, streams or wooded or rough areas, preferring to add those in with scatter terrain pieces to keep maximum flexibility for my battle mat.
Here it is after I did some painting.
All I did was heavily dilute (with water and a drop of dish detergent) some dollar store acrylic paints which I poured into a Spray bottle that creates a very fine spray, like an atomiser. Starting with my darkest green paint I placed cardboard strips to make a rectangular fields on to the fleece and sprayed inside the field templates moved the strips and did it until I felt I had enough, then moved on to a lighter green occasionally overlapping some of the other areas, then a yellow, misting it all over the cloth, allowing the paint to dry between colours, some of the fields are not rectangular and some overlap darker colours. when the fields and everywhere yellow were dry I adjusted my sprayer to a stream and from some distance shot streams of tan and later burnt umber paint onto the whole tablecloth. After everyhing was dry I chucked it into the clothes dryer for half an hour or so.
Close up of my DIY Battle mat
Another close up
I am pleased with how it looks, but I may do a bit more detail work (flicking paint from a toothbrush), and fill in some of the bigger empty areas.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Solo Blucher Forces

After a few solo games of Blucher, I found they were becoming the same game (with minor differences) over and over. Part of that was because I was laying out the table so it didn't favour one side or the other, also I ended up min/maxing both armies and since I knew what the 1st army had, I  unconsciously designed the 2nd army to deal with the 1st army. I then tried making random armies with the Mythic Games master emulator (see earlier post for details) and while it worked OK it was tedious and but still gave less variety than I wanted.

The army creation in the Mythic Games master emulator post, generated one comment suggesting I make a base force of 150 or 200 points and add random units until I reached the desired points total. It inspired me to make a bunch of 50 point forces on cards and then draw a number of cards equal to the point value I wanted, so for a 200 point army I would draw 4 cards. I tried it out, it works great, it is a bit of up front effort, making each list slightly different but well worth the investment in time. After I had done a set of early war French and a set of Austrians, I can now make an army list for both sides in under a minute.

Most of the cards are exactly 50 points, there a few that are either 49 or 51, if you're over or under on points don't worry about it, same if you have more of a unit type than you are allowed (I tried to put just 1 unit of units that have a maximum number allowed). Exception Subcommanders; some cards list a subcommnader amongst their units, and if you draw more than you are allowed to have in your force, after you have drawn all your cards, put all the subcommanders cards aside then randomly draw a number of cards equal to the subcommanders you are allowed, then draw replacement force cards from the main pile. None of the cards have a C-in-C, if you want one choose one, then draw a random card from your draw pile and take away troops at least equalling his cost.

Here are the decks I have compiled. They are PDFs, so just print, cut them out, stick'em in card sleeves and your ready to go.

50 point Early War French cards (32 force cards)
50 point Austrian cards (32 force cards)
50 point Penninsular British cards (24 force cards)
50 Point 100 days British cards (in Developement)
50 Point Russian cards (in Developement)
50 Point Prussian cards (in Developement)
50 point Ottoman cards (in Developement)
50 Point Spanish Cards (in Developement)
50 Point Late War French (in Developement)

When you have your total army drawn, you'll have to organise them into corps.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Random terrain building

Lately I have been in the mood to build terrain.

This weekend I made some smaller hills for my 6mm stuff.

These hills are for Blucher, I needed some that were between 2-3 Base Width for small hills. Nothing special about these hill. I made them from 1/2 thick anti-fatigue mats, that I picked up at Walmart.  I tried a new (well new to me) way to attach the flock. Normally I spread PVA and dump flocking on it while its still wet, but I was low on PVA and too lazy to go get some, so I tried acrylic caulking, I had laying around. It worked better than I hoped it hides the pattern very well, you cant tell the one that has has the pattern on the top, can you?

I also made some area terrain as a trial. This came about as a result of a discussion I saw on the facebook group The Terrain Tutor's Terrainiacs. A series of posts called Advemtures/Experiments in Mastic, wherein he is making gaming matts out of mastic (acrylic caulking) and mesh joint tape. I suggested that instead of the the joint tape that landscaping fabric would be a viable alternative.

I cut two pieces of Landscaping fabric into roughly 6" squares, pumped some caulking on to them spread it out threw some small scraps of clump foliage then some flock, pressed it in slightly by covering it in Wax paper and pressing down on it, let it dry. I then sealed it with watered down PVA.

When it was dry the edges curled up a bit, but the covering stays on even when I roll it up.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

28mm tree tutorial

After I flocked the big tree I made in a previous post, I didn't like the look of it, so I tried flocking a different tree with coloured Sawdust and I liked look of it much more.

I admit its not the most realistic tree I've ever seen, but it looks good and they are a tough as old boots, the ones I made for the store have had constant use for 2+ years now and aside from 1 with a base snapped in half, they are still in great shape.
Final Product
Since the  method of construction has changed slightly since my original post, I will detail the constructions and materials used in this new post.

1mm Plastic coated wire.
Heavy duty scouring pads.
Hot glue
Coloured sawdust or similar.
1 base per tree (I use circular 50mm MDF)
PVA glue
Spray glue

I have gotten the Heavy Duty Scouring pads from both Home Hardware and Home Depot, they are located with the steel wool and are for removing flaking and/or loose paint from things you are going to repaint. A brick is 3.5"x 5" and 1" thick.
$3 for this, its a 2 pack and 3 bricks will make 2 tress.
Cut each brick into 6 roughly equal sized rectangles. Trim off the corners and edges (keep the off cuts).
Slice each piece almost in half.

Cut 8 pieces of plastic coated wire, each piece 6" long. Bend the bottom of each piece to make a L shape about 1/2" to 1/4" long.
These piees are 12" long then bent in half with the foot then added, but this is the shape your 6" pieces shold be.

Bundle the 8 pieces together, feet at the bottom. I use masking tape to hold the bundle together. Glue bundle to base.

From the foot of the tree measure about 2.5" up and bend out 5 of the wires, then measure 2" more  and bend out 2 more wires leaving the last wire standing straight up.

Cover all the tree trunk sections in masking tape, then cover all the masking tape in white glue and then pour sand on the white glue, when the glue is dry cover the sand in a diluted PVA water mix to seal the sand, let it dry again.

When it is dry again paint the trunk brown or whatever colour you want it to be, and dry brush a lighter colour.

Hot glue the scouring pad blobs to the branches. The reason for slitting your blobs almost in half, now is revealed, apply hot glue to the end of a branch then have your blob bite down on the hot glue.
Nom nom nom.
Glue your off cuts on to break up the angularity of your tree, and fill in any unsightly gaps.

At this point I spray paint my canopy black, protecting the trunk and base (if I have done the base of the tree ) with aluminium foil. I find the spray paint strengthens the scouring pad and holds the canopy together a bit. Afterwards you can dry brush the pads brown, in case you shed some of the flocking at a later date, so the bare patch will look a little bit like bare branches.

Apply spray adhesive onto your scouring pads (Again protecting trunk and base with Aluminum foil) and either sprinkle your flocking onto it or pour a bunch of flocking into a bag, poke your tree canopy into the bag and shake it. Wait for the glue to dry, give your tree a bit of a tap removing the really loose flock, and then cover the flock in a 50/50 mix of watered down PVA. For maximum flock retention I recommend doing the last stage at least twice.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Terrain garnish

I just recently finished playing a game and was cleaning up, thinking this is a lot of extra work removing a lot of small terrain items that are merely decorative i.e have no effect on game play. But I think it is worth it. I know some players don't like it, I cant tell you how many times I've heard players saying something like, "can we get rid of these"

I think it makes the game look so much better. I find it makes the game much more visually appealing. I keep thinking "I need to get/make more" or "I should throw some paint on my fleece tablecloth" to break up its monochromacity.

Here are some before and after shots.

Here is all the terrain layed out that has an effect on game play, tables looks uninspiring

Here is the same area with garnish added, I think it looks much more inviting.


Here are some close ups of the battle on said table.

Solo Scarnhorst Campaign and Blucher game.

I recently finished playing a game of Blucher, I used the Scharnhorst campaign to set up the battle.

I have been playing Blucher solo, but since I was designing both sides, they always turned out pretty samey every time, so I asked on the Honour Facebook group for players to design me some armies, hoping for armies different from what I would design (the request generated no armies). So I decided I would do random armies, lets just say that didn't work out.

Here I will digress a little, I play some RPGs and to help me spice THAT up, I picked up a game called Mythic Games master Emulator, which is for playing same side or GM-less RPGing, Basically you ask a question, set the likely hood of the answer being yes and roll percentile dice the result will then be either Yes, No, Exceptional No! or Exceptional Yes! You can also ask for details and it rolls some more dice and tells you for example: Player character X: the answer involves "A small amount of care" and you quickly think of something that that phrase brings to mind. Like Player X moving forward cautiously sees something on the ground. you then ask another question of the emulator and so on.

I figured I could use the emulator to design armies using the Yes query with the likely hood starting at Likely (60/40), then moving on to Unsure (50/50) then Unlikely (40/60), you can also go more extreme, Impossible (1/99) or Must be  (99/1). Example: I ask: Does Austraia want another Avante-Garde unit? and roll. Answer: Exceptional No!, So not only do they not want another one they don't want any more. Everytime I ask the same question I decrease the likely hood down a level, and an exceptional no means move onto a new unit type, and an exceptional Yes! means ask again with same likely hood, though if you have bought the maximum of that unit type you must move on.

When I say roll, I don't actually roll I found a Shockwave program of the emulator, put it on my tablet and as I design the armies I ask the questions out loud, click likelyhood and then click ask. add the unit to the list then onto next unit. Here is a link to the file if anyone is interested, Rather than going there all the time I just copied it to my tablet.

So I made two armies, different than what I would normaly design.

3 subcommanders: Bellegarde, Klenau and Kienmayer
4x Grenadiers
2x Avant-Garde
2x Veteran Infantry
5x Conscript Infantry
1x Kuirassier
2x Hussars
2x Other Cavalry
2x Insurrection Cavalry

3 subcommanders: Lannes, Murat& Kellerman
2x Guard Infantry
1x Elite Infantry
5 x Ligne Infantry
5x Light Cavalry
2x Allied Elite Infantry
2x Allied Conscript Infantry
2x Polish Cavalry

I then moved onto the Scharnhorst portion of the evening, I broke the 2 armies into 4 columns each, put units on recon. Moved the colums around the map, declared a battle. then determined which columns were where, by asking the emulator questions.

Turn 3 Austria declared battle in D4 D5 and are REDFORCE, Both side have 4 VP, the winner of the battle will win the campaign, unless the Austrians capture the town, in which case they will win the campaign.
This is where things got interesting, Austria had their 2 weakest groups in Column I & IV so they started with 7 brigades on table and had an Army morale of 3. France started with 15 brigades on table Army Morale of 5. I was "why bother?" Austria is gonna get its ass handed to it, but fought the battle anyway, the Austrians Won! At one point the French had their entire army on the table vs. the 7 starting Austrians.  Columns D and C tried to crush I column between them, on turn 2 D's cavalry raced North to finish I column quickly but both its cavalry were crushed (1 Broken, 1 fatigued) by I's Cavalry. I column eventually lost all its infantry, but not before reducing the Allied C column to a bunch of units sitting at 2 or 3 elan, while holding off A. Column II came in behind C and finished them off as B came in behind I and quickly destroyed all of I column's Infantry.  IV column spent almost the entire game unmolested in E5, eventually D remnants and cavalry from A briefly captured the objective therein, but as the French army broke their actions were moot.

Looking south into D4 from C4. II column just started crossing the stream with the almost fresh II Column on their left.

Looking into E5 from E4, two fatigued cavalry eye balling each other, this side of the stream.