Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Evacuation of Vietnam...from this blog!

What happen to all of the 10mm Vietnam blog entries?!?!? Well, I am moving all of my 10mm Vietnam blog entries from this blog to a website that I set up for my Vietnam projects, called Sapper Joe's Vietnam Wargames. 

The reason for this is mainly that I wanted to do away of my insane ramblings of how my project is progressing and now start storing everything in a more traditional sense of a website with a more organized format, plus to free up some memory by deleted pictures that show WIP, when I have completed one of the same model. The website is still under construction, but pretty much the format that I want. I will still use this blog to show any new work for the Vietnam project and also for any AAR's. 

Also, you will notice some other changes on this blog. One, the new "hot links tabs" underneath the big picture at the top. Click on these and it will take you to a separate page with something about that gaming project. They are still WIP.

Second, you might notice that I removed a lot of the "tags" for the different posts. I decided to remove a lot of them to reduced the size of the "tag" bar in the left hand column and just to make it less confusing with all of the different options.

Next, you will notice that the sidebar on the right hand side is gone. As I created a "hot link tab" for links & other blogs. So I was able to delete that one column. I will update these links make them a little more specific to which projects that I am using them. Also I moved my "Followers" to the top as well.

Finally, you will see two new gadgets with links. The first at the top of my blog entries is "My Shelfari Bookshelf" which allows you to see what kind of books that I have or read. I have not figured out how to separate them by topic yet. At the bottom of the site is a music player of clips of sounds written by someone after see Antarctica on a tour. I guess since I have also had a moving experience on my tour, that I decided to add it to my blog. It will not start automatically and to hear it, you have to start it yourself.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just a little urban renewal project

Below are some pictures of my 20mm urban residential board for my UK troubles games: Ireland (1920's and 1960's+), 2nd English Civil (1970's-80's), Cold War Hot (Red Dawn 1970's-80's), Operation Sealion & Case Green (German invasion in WWII of UK & Ireland), A Very British Civil War (1930's), Sweeneys & Blaggers (Cops & Robbers 1970's), and Zombies....yes, I plan to make the most out of this project! Also, if anyone can point me towards some 20mm Daleks and Cybermen, that would be great.

The board is 3'x2' in size, so it would be for very small actions and the rare platoon action. I will be also later be working on a same size board which will be an industrial area, including a brewery for the Irish to fight over who will be in control of it.

Since taking these pictures, I have redone several things so the roads, specifically the back alley, are now narrower then what is shown in the pictures. Remember, to click on the picture for a bigger version of it.

Now some pictures with various vehicles and figures to give it more life.

Sapper Joe’s Current Gaming Projects

Well, I know that I have been very quiet and a little distant lately, but I figure I should pop up and say what my current gaming projects are that I am working on and to also let you know that I will be redoing my blog in the near future. As for the changes to my blog, I am planning to create a couple of websites specifically geared towards specific period / game system. For an example, one website will be on my Vietnam gaming, which will include my 10mm & 20mm French Indochina and 2nd Vietnam War gaming articles, as well as general information on both of those wars. Another will cover my UK’s troubles 20mm gaming and general information. I will still keep this blog for general gaming information and what I am doing, but the websites will be the “storage” areas of past blog entries and a more organized format for finding things. I don’t know when I will get stuff done, but I will post it up on my blog when it completed.

Now as for gaming, I have not been working on anything really productive for the last several months…err, year; but I am trying to get back into things. The following are the key goals for this year.

1 – I am still continuing to sort out and sell off miniatures, books, and other game related stuff for dead projects (which, sadly to say is a lot). I am also weeding through existing projects to see if I can reduce the number of figures that I need and sell off the excess, if any. I hope to make a major impact on my pile of unwanted and unpainted miniatures and books by the end of the year. Whatever I get from the sales, I am mostly turning around and using that towards the paragraph below.

2 – I just sent off my first batch of miniatures to be painted by a painting service. I have been looking into different painting services for about the last six to twelve months. I have saved up enough to make it worth my wild to give this a shot in getting some stuff done and hopefully on the board this year. The first batch has 20mm Post WWII Brits, including a Scimitar light tank, for various projects: Falklands, Northern Ireland, 2nd English Civil War, Cold War Hot, and Zombies. (I plan to really make the most out of my 20mm UK urban board and vehicles). Also included were 20mm Argentines for the Falklands. The next batch will be 1970’s civilians, rioters, armed criminals, and some additional Cold War UK troops. The plan is to be playing Falklands, NI, and 2nd English Civil War by the end of the year.

3 – I have been negligent into getting around and ordering the last of my buildings from Metcalfe for my 20mm UK residential urban board. I plan to order the remainder of them next weekend (finally). After they arrive, I will start finishing up buildings and streets part of the project. I will still have to pick up some more vehicles and street scenic’s (light poles, mail boxes, phone boxes, etc.) I have also bought some PDF files of additional UK buildings in 20mm that need to printed out and try my hands on them as well. I already have some buildings for the next board, which will be an industrial area – with a brewery for the Irish to battle for control over!

4 – I am dropping the use of “Cold War Commander” as my rules for 10mm Vietnam. While I enjoyed it, it was failing for a multiple player game system. I have been reading the Too Fat Lardies, “Charlie Don’t Surf” rules lately and got a set of CDS cards from I also have an order out for some 7mm white & red dice and 7mm dice stands from S&S for keeping track of shock & kills on the different units. I am going to try to run a small trial game maybe at the end of this month to get more comfortable with CDS. If all goes well, I plan to start picking back up on doing 10mm Nam.

5 –Also on switching rules, I am dropping “Force on Force” for my Northern Ireland and other low level skirmishing (2-12 figures per side.) This is mainly due the results of my trial NI games of “FoF” for the low level skirmishing. The actions were too fast, making the games extremely short. Also, the results were too bloody compared to actual engagements. So I am looking into some different games systems that are designed specifically for very small actions, like “Geezers! Shut It!” by Killer B Games, “Cold War: 1983” by Wessex Games, and possibly “Flying Lead” by Ganesha Games. 

6 – I am also looking at Two Fat Lardies, “Troops, Weapons, & Tactics” / “Through the Mud & the Blood” for possibly doing my 20mm skirmishing, instead of “Force on Force”. Mainly this is because of the action / reaction / reaction to reaction / etc. system in FoF. Originally I thought it was good, but in each passing game, it became more and more bogging down of the fast flow of the system, especially if you have over a platoon with a couple of support weapons. I held off from pre-ordering the 2nd Ed. of FoF, because I don’t know how drastic it has been changed or not from 1st Ed. rules. If anyone buys the 2nd Ed., let me know what differences there are and I will be willing to try it out. I know TW&T/M&B were designed to work for platoon size actions (20-50 figures per side) like FoF and they are suppose to be able to handle up to company size actions (50-100 figures per side). So I would like to try them out and see how they will work. Because, I am really looking for a system that will work well for small patrol actions as well as a two platoon assault without get grinded down into a standstill of dice rolling and reactions.

7 – While I am selling off a lot of miniatures and planning to do most of my work on the Falklands / Cold War troubles projects this year, I did finally decided that I will start one new project this year. By this, I mean a project that I do not have any miniatures already for it. It will start off as a medium size project (50 - 100 figures per side), but has the possibility to grow into a large size project (100-200 figures per side) over the next year or two. With that number of miniature involved, we are looking at 15mm for the scale. It is something that I have been thinking about for few years of doing, but just did not start over that time. I am going into the land war of the Great War, 1914-18. But I am going to do the Middle East / Asia Minor front with the forces of the Empire fighting Johnny Turk. I already had for years most of the terrain, several books on the subject, and the two rules sets that I will be using. What I am doing is mounting everything individually (except the MG teams) separately. This way I can use them for Too Fat Lardies’, “If the Lord Spares Us” (each stand is a platoon) and “Through the Mud & the Blood” (each stand is a man.) I looked up all of the ITLSU’s scenarios and made a list of what is required to cover almost all of the scenarios. I then decided on which scenarios had the most in common so not to buy too many figures and that is what I am going to buy for figures. Later on (next year), I will buy some more to do additional scenarios.

8 – In discussing of starting new projects, if I get time this year I will try to restart some old projects or add on to active ones. High on my list of projects to restart will be the Gangs of New York, especially with the beautiful Perry’s ACW rioters coming out (Dead Rabbits, B’hoys!) and add on to my 10mm Vietnam – maybe the “Snoopy” gun truck will finally be finished!

9 – In the non-gaming area, but sort of related to the gaming research end, I found out about a local monthly meeting of people interested in the Civil War. They normally have an author of Civil War books, or a university professor to give a one and a half hour presentation at their meetings. I have been to one already and really enjoyed it. Also with this being the 150th Ann. of the ACW, I am planning more ACW weekend trips through Missouri. One of these trips will be to see the 150th Ann. exhibit at the Missouri capitol (and hopefully see many more surviving flags), as well as visiting Wilson’s Creek for the 150th Ann. I have been lay out a trip outline and will forward it on to anyone interested.
Well, that is about it for the planning of the year.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fighting an Addiction – Or: My Battle with Lead Mountain

“Hello, my name is Joe and I have an addiction for buying too many miniatures…”

A few weeks back, someone I know was complaining about having to buy another army and the cost of certain figures, etc., and why he keeps putting himself in this position. While I never got around to replying, it did get me to think about my own addiction as a compulsive buyer of gaming stuff, mainly miniatures, and what I am doing to keep my mountain of metal under control. Plus, this could be a cool subject for my blog for others to think about before they start buying into a project that will go nowhere.

While I have always known that I had way too many miniatures, especially unpainted, it was about a year and a half ago that I realized how much unpainted miniatures I had in my collection. That is when I realized that I really needed to let some things go and stop getting involved in a bunch of periods, armies, or other projects because of something I read/seen/or talked about. I had made a decision to stop being a miniature-holic.

The first big step was to list out all of my projects by scale and armies that I have, have started, would like to do, or had at one time. After doing that, I saw that for some periods, I had multiple scales for it for the same armies. For an example, I had at one time or still have figures for WWII in France for 1940 in 3mm, 6mm, 10mm, 15mm, and 20mm! Five different scales of the same French and German forces! (Literally – The French forces were the exact same force for numbers or each type of vehicles, infantry stands, etc.)

Next, I struck from the list all of the projects that I sold off or have given away. From there I made out a rough estimate of the amount of minis that it would take to finish projects that I still had, plus storage requirements for everything (armies, buildings, terrain, etc.) Once that is done, I started to cry over how unrealistic everything has been and how much larger my house would have to be to finish everything. Now, I was ready to start cutting the fat.

Then I reviewed all of the projects on the list. I first terminated the projects that I had I not started on, those that I didn’t have a solid start on, and also projects that I have absolutely no interested in any more. This was followed by marking what periods that I have finished, also finished, and those that I really still wanted to do. Everything in between I made a decision on whether to keep or get rid of based on interested, what is need to complete, storage, cost, etc. So now you know why I am selling off a lot of miniatures (unfortunately, which is rather irregular still.)

But now what is to keep me in check? Part of this is to control myself from starting new projects before I start buying a bunch of figures and drop it later. That is where I came up with a series of questions to ask myself as sort of a “litmus test” on determining if the project is something I want to give it a “Go.” All of these questions might not apply to everyone, but everyone should ask themselves some of the questions before they buy their first pack of miniatures for a new project.

  • Do I really want to do this project and it is not just a passing fad?
  • How many other projects do I currently have going on?
  • Am I going to duplicate an existing or past project and why?
  • How much am I willing to budget towards this project, $100, $500, $1000 (include everything – miniatures, terrain, bases, rules, paints, painting services, resource books, and shipping costs)?
  • Am I going to have to eat putter butter & jelly sandwiches at work for a while? - Seriously, if you have to ask this question – get out now!
  • Am I willing to do both opposing forces, terrain, and know all of the rules?
  • How many gamers will typically play in a game and how many figures are needed per player for a normal game?
  • Is there anyone else willing to help and how committed are they to the project if they are to do their part, especially if it is a vital part?
  • Will this be a one-shot project (once it is bought, it is finished) or living project (you continuous have to keep adding more to it as rules/armies change – i.e., GW, FOW, Modern gaming)?
  • Are the rules available to cover the project (do I have them or need to buy them) and do I like the rules?
  • Basing requirements: universal (used by many rules sets) or unique (only one rules set) and do I want to commit to that type of basing?
  • Miniature availability: What scales, manufacturers, and quality are available for the project and would I be willing to use a smaller scale, different manufacturer, or lesser quality to do the period to stay in budget (instead of 25mm, can I use 10mm, if they are available)?
  • Can I cut down the number of figures needed or find other ways of reducing what is needed (maybe use 3 figs on a stand vs. 4)?
  • What number of figures do I really need to play a normal size game (10, 40, 100, or 1000 per side)?
  • Can I still play games with fewer figures / stands until I get everything done?
  • Do I really have the time to paint that many miniatures or will I use a painting service?
  • Can I use these figures for other projects or games that I might be interested in (like using a “commonly” played scale of miniatures that can be used to fight several different opposing forces vs. an oddball scale / army that can only be used for that one project )?
  • Will I get enough enjoyment from this project for the effort that I will be required to put into it?

Anyway, I hope this helps someone from making that horrible discovery one day of a big sinkhole where your house use to be before sank due to the weight of all of the unpainted miniatures in your basement.