Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eleven Months to the game

Wow! Eleven months to go until the Big Battalions game, and by my reckoning we already have over 2,500 figures committed to the game

And this only counts the figures from Bill M, Robert P, and myself (Ed Y)! There are actually more generals than shown, which number represents many brigades are present.

On the Emperor’s side of the ring we have:

And in this corner, weighing in for the Elector:

There are at least three other people who have committed to bringing a brigade-sized formation as espoused as a BAR starting force. Once I get their particulars and loyalties, I will update the totals.

I also plan to add a section to the blog showing the various factions and their military contingents.

How can you help?

First, if you want to join, let us know via the blog or email. We are completely, 100% open to a firm "maybe." However, I would prefer to keep the army lists to those that are ready to march, and not still naked lead. Believe me: I could double the numbers above with my lead alone!

Second, I would like to begin hearing ideas for how to tie our game (and any games leading up to it) together with those put on by Mssrs. Purkey and Protz, and the "UK Big Battalion" festival. This does not need to be extremely detailed or convoluted, but I think we could have a lot of fun doing so.

Finally, for those in the San Antonio area, I will put on a BAR game at ChimaeraCon on Saturday, March 15th. Currently I have a placeholder named "Battle of Sittangbad" but that is not necessarily the scenario. If you think you might be interested, let me know so that I can plan accordingly for a table and troops.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Massing of Cavalry reported in South Central Texas

Many thanks to Robert Piepenbrink and Bill Protz.

Yesterday, a package arrived from Bill containing Robert's Patented Traveling Brigade of Spencer Smith Cavalry. Robert had loaned these figures for one of the Big Battalion games put on by M. Chevert and Der Alte Fritz for the gratification of the masses.

Now, these fine regiments will ride again in warmer climes.

I admit I was surprised. I was told to expect 72 figures, but somehow missed the point they were plastic. So when a huge box was deposited on the doorstep, I braced my feet and made sure not to lift with my back. And nearly hurled the box into the neighbor's yard!

But...the box did not have 72 figures. It has FIVE regiments of 24 figures each...120!!

So thank you Robert, and Bill for sending them along.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Figure Basing, Organization, Movement Stands and Terrain Features

To attempt to answer the many questions that Sir Ed and I are receiving, here are the answers to the most common questions that we are seeing:
Infantry and Artillery:
The rules recommend basing 20mm to 28mm figures individually on 3/4" X 3/4" bases. They go on to recommend basing "some" 28mm up to 40MM figures individually on 1" X 1" bases. Typically, the larger bases should only be necessary for Suren, Stadden and Spencer Smith 30mm and the various ranges of 40mm and 42mm figures out there. However, you may find that you need the larger bases with some Foundry and similar "large" 28mm figures. All artillerists should be based individually as well as your infantry. The guns are left loose, regardless of calibre/size. Limbers and ammunition wagons are not required, but certainly add to the visual appeal of the game.
The rules recommend basing 20mm to 28mm figures individually on 3/4" X 2" bases. They go on to recommend basing "some" 28mm up to 40mm figures individually on 1" X 2" bases. The same qualifications as to brand and style of figures apply as they do to infantry and artillerists.
You do not absolutely have to base figures individually, but it does add to the appeal of the game and gives you the ability to remove single casualty figures, use historical formations, and use historical drill movements and changes in formation. However, the rules do encourage the use of historical 3-rank deep formations. If you base your figures in single ranks, this should not be a problem. If, however, you base your figures for one of the rulesets requiring 2-rank deep basing, and you do not have any single-based or single-rank figures available for the third rank, then we may have to make some accommodations in the rules to use these.
Movement Trays:
You are certainly welcome to bring your own larger movement trays with you, if you already have these available, but we recommend using trays that split your battalions into 4 "divisions" (As an example, a 48 figure battalion would have 4 stands of 12 figures each, with 3 ranks of 4 figures on each tray). We will be providing movement trays for all of the figures we provide, and will have some extra as well. If we know for sure that you're coming and what you're bringing, we will make sure trays are available. These trays will make it easier to maneuver your units in general movement, and still allow single figures to be removed. All of the trays that we provide, and we recommend that you do the same, will be sized for 1" X 1" foot and 1" X 2" mounted figures, so that we may accommodate everyone's available figures.
All necessary terrain will be provided for the game. However, if you own some especially nice period-correct buildings that you believe would add to the visual appeal of the game, please contact Ed or I and we will try and work it in. We very much want this to be a "team" effort and for every participant to add what they can or wish to the experience. We have not determined the exact scenario that we will be running yet, as that will depend somewhat on the available troops. It will probably be based on a dispute involving our Imagi-Nations, with the appropriate Historical allies involved.
Hopefully this covers the majority of the questions that you may have. And, hopefully, I have answered them correctly. If Mssr's. Protz or Purkey detect an error of feel that additional information is required, then we encourage them to add to the comments on this topic. I heartily encourage anyone who has not already done so to acquire their own set of the "Batailles de l'Ancien Régime", or B.A.R., rules. We will have quick reference sheets available during the game, but the rules contain a wealth of information and diagrams relevant to the game and to the period. They are available for $37 (which includes postage) from Mssr. Protz's web site, which can be reached via the link at the right.
Sir William

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So why on earth would anyone want a 66 figure battalion?

Hello weary traveller! Thank you for visiting this corner of Urope and the Texian Nation in particular.

I thought it might be a little helpful for a visitor to understand what Sir William and I are on about, as our British brethren have been asking me.

My freshman year at the USAF Academy (82-83) is when I started playing miniatures. As a “doolie” you don’t get much free time or many passes. So when a history professor stood up at a Cadet Wargame Club meeting and offered a free pass to anyone who wanted to play a Napoleonic wargame, there was no hesitation. I didn’t give a hoot about Napoleon since there was a distinct lack of airpower, but a free pass was a free pass.

Come Sunday, we showed up at the captain’s house. He had a ping-pong table, covered with two beautifully painted 25mm armies: a French one facing an Anglo-Prussian-Russian horde in a hypothetical post-Waterloo battle. I was hooked. The spectacle, the fun, the cheering, the whole day was great! (Side note: last time I checked the captain was a full colonel, permanent professor and Chairman of the Dept of History, and still using his troops for cadet games and classes!) I have gamed lots of stuff since then, but have always wanted to revisit that huge spectacle.

Many years later, I had become a member of the Lone Star Historical Miniatures club in San Antonio. A fellow member of the LSHM club brought several back issues of MWAN to the group and gave them away to anyone interested. One of the issues was #86, which had Brian Carroll’s “Birth of a Notion” article where he described his “big battalions” Marlburian project. The combination of studying the period, planning and building big battalions, how he put the project together, in fact the whole article just fascinated me. It still does; whenever I want to rekindle the gaming flame, I reread it again. Since then I have been plotting, scheming, collecting, and painting in an effort to get to that game I wanted.

Then I read about Herr Alte Fritz (Jim Purkey) and M. Bill Protz-Chevert and their new, 10:1 SYW project, which ultimately developed into the BAR rules and their recent huge game weekend. In the early part of the rules, Bill recommends:

“Gather a group of four committed comrades. Ask each to raise two battalions, one cannon with crew and one regiment of horse to start. That’s about 96-120 infantry, 1 cannon with 4-6 crew and 24-36 cavalry per person. {Total models = 125-163}. Do this and you will have some very stimulating small actions for a long time. Beware though as the inevitable occurs and your friends start secretly raising more units to outnumber yours. It will happen. You will want more.”

That is the premise I'm working on here. If you care to join us, perhaps you can raise such a force too? It doesn't have to be perfect...or historical...or exactly the same as ours. As long as you want to join us in the spirit of a gentlemanly game with the flavor of the mid-18th century in the manner of "Charge! Or how to play wargames" by Brigadier Young and Lt Col Lawford, or "The Wargame" by Charles Grant, please think about joining us.

The Place To Be In 2008!!!

Your Host Site, Well Protected From Hostiles!
The purpose of this Blog is to make all aware of, and disseminate information about, the impending Clash of Armies in Austin, Texas, in November of 2008. Your hosts for this "Big Battalion" game will be the Most Gracious Landgraviate of Hesse-Fedora, Sir Ed Youngstrom (in his alter-identity as Landgraf Humphrey Bogart) and the Honourable Regent of the Duchy of M'Uedail, Sir Bill McHenry (in his alter-identity of Sir William MacInerney, Duc d'Bastau). For the sake of this encounter, we shall be using those most excellent rules of engagement, "Batailles de l'Ancien Régime", or B.A.R. for short, written by Sir William B. Protz, Jr.
This will be a "classic" game in the true Old School Wargamer's fashion, utilizing 42 to 48 figure Infantry Battalions and 12 figure Cavalry Squadrons massed into larger Regimental formations. If you ever read "Charge! Or How To Play Wargames" by Brig. Peter Young and Lt. Col. J.P. Lawford, or "The Wargame" by Charles Grant and drooled at the sight of the massed Armies involved, then this is the venue for you. If you aren't familiar with the texts mentioned, please click on the link at the right for "Der Alte Fritz's Journal" to see magnificent pictures of the recent "Big Battalions" gaming event held in Lincolnshire, IL, and hosted by Bill Protz and Jim Purkey. It is truly a spectacle to behold! Their game featured over 4,000 beautifully painted figures who fought to a bloody conclusion. A similar event is being planned for the UK right now and I know there will be more in the US, but this is the 1st and, at least for now, ONLY one in Texas and the Great Southwest.
Each player shall command a Brigade of 25/28/30mm figures for this engagement, with attendant Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery. Your Hosts will be providing many of the troops present for the battle, but prospective Brigade Commanders are encouraged (if not begged!) to also bring their own forces with them. The battle will portray a "possible" encounter between the forces of the Prussian Tyrant and his English Lackey's battling a valiant coalition of France, Austria, and their attendant Allies and "Wild Geese". Indeed, the fate of several Imagi-Nations in Greater Europa may hang in the balance. Can you truly allow yourself to miss this moment in History? We think not!
So, follow the progress of this Blog, mark your calendars for next November, and plan to help make History as part of the first "Big Battalion Game" in Texas, Old School Style. Remember, All roads DO lead to Texas (eventually) and there are other forms of transportation available as well (involving frightful airborne conveyences, we're told).
With respect, Sir Ed Youngstrom and Sir Bill McHenry