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.


Ike said...

Well, Zolms-Braunwald is preparing to enter the "Big Battalions" battle on the side of the Electors. A definite "gonna be there" for Millenium 2008, in brigade strength. Details as I get the battalions and squadrons painted. Question: Is it permissible to have a brigade of both infantry and cavalry or not?

For ChimaeraCon, I will be there at least for the battle if not the entire weekend. It is quite a long way from New Braunfels, after all, eh? *laugh* I hope to have two battalions (try for three) painted up plus three battalion guns. Not certain on the cavalry yet.

I just got my RSM95 figures Friday and they are just as advertised. Flash removal - what little there is - is proceeding carefully (old eyes ya know?) to be followed by cleaning, mounting and painting very very carefully. I intend to follow the uniform schemes shown on my blog as closely as may be. I'll be making my own movement trays for them, in the correct "48-figure battalion" sizes per R.A.M. rules.

Ed Youngstrom said...


If'n ya got 'em, ya'll can bring 'em is my motto. Ideally, I would love to have enough miniature-toting participants that everyone can "drive their own." But I think between Bill and I that we probably can provide for plenty of people without toys.

I have only played the rules solo so far, but reading Bill and Jim's reports gives me the impression that in a large game, one or maybe two brigades is all that a player can handle easily. That's one thing I hope to discover at ChimaeraCon.

As to that "long haul:" New Braunfels is somewhere in the mysterious "East" that I've heard about, isn't it? Marco Polo and all that? Dangerously proximate to...shudder...Austin?!


Ike said...

My thought is to only have one brigade, comprised of two or three regiments (one battalion each) of foot plus one regiment of horse (of two squadrons), plus one battalion gun for each battalion. Plus, of course, the converged grenadiers and jaegers from those foot battalions. I believe that will keep me occupied (and pre-occupied!) for the entirety of any gaming I can get into between now and November, 2008. I hope to get in some time to drill my troops - i.e., learn the R.A.M. drill book - both foot and horse and guns.

It's north of you, actually, but is dangerously close to *shudder* Austin, the situs of fruits and nuts galore. I think of it as being a bit of California wedged into the center of Texas.

Der Alte Fritz said...

The BAR rules are rather easy to learn 'in situ' and most people can pick up the basics within a couple of turns. I find that a brigade of maybe 4 battalions and a cannon or two is enough to get you through the whole game.

Cavalry gets used up quicker than infantry so one probably wants to command around 100 mounted figures in a cavalry brigade.

There is no reason why a player couldn't have a mixed command of infantry and cavalry and artillery either. It will work just fine.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Thanks Herr Alte.

Ed v. H-F

Ike said...

Danke, Der Alte Fritz! I should truly like to see my "Prinz of Zolms" Hussars on the tabletop engaged with an enemy!

I look forward to entering Galzar's Courtroom.

Bill McHenry said...

Thanks for the guidance Jim. This pretty much corresponds to my perception of the rules as well from moving scaled-down card bases around and working out the mechanics..

In a "set-piece" battle, which is what we are most likely to have, I see "combined arms" commands most likely appearing on table edges, where the cavalry can protect the infantry's flanks or the infantry and cannon can provide fire support for a pinning move by the cavalry. I could also see a "combined arms" force used somewhere in the center or interior of the battle if there was a piece of strategic terrain to be siezed. Hussars, Mounted Jagers, Dragoons, etc. could be utilized to sieze the feature as an advance element that dismounted and awaited support from the "big boys". This would somewhat simulate the function of a "Legion". Otherwise, in keeping with the spirit of the time period, I see most commands as beeing all cavalry or all infantry, with supporting artillery of course. I do have a question however. I know that you have painted Horse Artillery for your Prussians (or believe you have), but don't see these referenced in the rules. Are they treated differently in any regard? I ask because the Duchy of M'Uedail does have one planned battery of 8# Horse Artillery.


Gallia said...

Dear Bill and Ed,
#1: I continue to entertain the possibility of flying to TX and participate in the November game. Some Gallians would fly in with me I am sure. I am very warm to the idea.
#2 Horse artillery was in its infancy and not properly understood yet. Still in development. I was so disappointed to read Duffy's remarks about the Prussian battery. My comments are on p. 27 of BAR. Use "Light 6 Pdrs. for the Prussians. The Quick Ref. Charts (page 1 right side) show Horse Arty get a Trot, Canter Gallop move like cavalry but at a 2" slower speed. This is because Duffy said they could not keep up with the Prussian cavalry nor were they exactly intended to do so. I would rather such batteries could zoom around like Napoleonic ones but Duffy thinks otherwise. Thus I'm adapting his comments to BAR use. Still a Trot, canter, Gallop option is nice.
#3 Anyone here is welcome to fly to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for our next BAR game at my home. Also Jim and I will be hosting BAR games at Little Wars (near Chicago), the Seven Years war Assn. Show in South Bend and at Historicon 2008 in Lancaster, PA. Then I must of course remind all here about the really BIGEE BAR game Jim hosts in the autumn near Chicago. Lots of opportunities to learn the rules up close and personal AND have a good time.
#4 I am almost always a judge in BAR games. Odd eh? I've found it difficult with that role to command more than one other item. In my case it is usually cavalry and a lot of it usually.
What a nice thing you fellows are doing. Really exciting.
Votre Serviteur,
Bill Protz

Bill McHenry said...

Thanks for the comments Bill. We should, of course, love to see you and/or friend Der Alte arrive in Texas, and would do our best to make your visit memorable.

I really appreciate the comments on the Horse Artillery. I completely missed the reference in my own reading of BAR. I will downgrade M'Uedail's battery to six pounders to mirror the Prussian model, as the "back story" is that they were introduced to M'Uedail's OOB by that eminent German expatriate, Brigadier Heinz Guderian, currently in service to M'Uedail. It seems that Guderian, along with his protege Rommel, has a novel idea for a "mixed" Brigade of the Horse Artillery, Dragoons and/or Horse Grenadiers who will probably dismount to provide a "firebase" and Heavy Horse to support the lot; something he fancifully likes to call "Blitzkrieg". Time will tell if such will actually work ;-)

Sir William

ColCampbell50 said...


My plan is to come with forces for both sides. The Markgraviatte of Carpania (and maybe some hired allies) for the Elector and the Principality of Corcordia (and some allies) for the Emperor. Detailed OBs will follow.

Jim from central Miss.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Jim (from Miss. not Jim from Midwest!),

Outstanding! We look forward to the reinforcements.


Frankfurter said...

We're still hoping to be there for one of the games ... the wife is dithering over going north in spring or to Texas ... she has a very good friend in Texas.
I've four and a half battalions of "Austrian" Revell plastic infantry (two fusil, two grenadier, but I've read where the grenadier can be used as mitered fusiliers instead, the half battalion is painted as if jaegers), three Prussian (two musket, one gren), About a half battalion of what I think are mixed old airfix American AWI and, believe it or not, Giant of Hong Kong ... and they have an artillery piece (and another one on the shelf to be painted). While the Austrian figures are plausibly Austrian, at least half of the Prussian figures are more imaginatively painted.
I've been focusing on my 16's lately, but will return to the plastics soon (which are based for K.K. 3/4 x1 deep)

Der Alte Fritz said...

I am considering the possibility of flying in to attend the game. It would be fun to attend and to meet all of the others in the group.

The horse artillery movement is shown on the first page of the quick reference chart, down towards the bottom of the page. I think that horse artillery should be a little easier to limber and unlimber than regular field artillery - must tee this idea up with Monsieur Protz.

Prolonging movement rates for light cannon are rather generous (3-6pds) and we often prolong the guns rather than risk a bad die roll that causes them to take a full turn to unlimber.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Herr Alte,

It would be a pleasure to host you and Bill. I hope you can join us.


Glad to hear you are on the mend. Hope your recovery is quick.


Gallia said...

From Bill P.
Horse Arty.
Use Light 6 Pdrs. These get the the modifier for things that are "Light Anything" (a +1) for limbering/unlimbering which means they will unlimber/limber faster than non-light cannons. SYW horse arty. was not equivalent to Nappy. horse arty. in speediness, mission or skill is how I interpret Duffy.

So in the Nappy version of BAR, yet to come, perhaps Nappy. horse arty should get a +2 for example.
I penciled the date on my calendar yesterday. I'm closer to attending too. Every once in a while I ponder what miniatures would fly with me. So far I am thinking my a cavalry force and Régiment Auvergne of two battalions + battalion guns. But who knows?
En avant pour moi et vous,
Forward for me and you (at least I hope that is what I said?)

Der Alte Fritz said...

Gallia: you will have to share your thoughts on how to pack figures for flying to Austin. I am assuming "carry on" for any figures that I would bring, so that rather limits what I'd be able to take with me to just a battalion or two and/or a small number of cavalry.

Frankfurter said...

I think the blog needs a side bar with the following information (and I know that as a strong "maybe" player I have the least right to suggest).
One, the venue in Austin where the game is going to occur.
Two, comparatively priced accommodations within plausible distance and contact information (some of us may need to save a couple of months for the trip! LOL).

I've also some ideas about the nature of event, if you all don't mind me babbling along ....

We'll need a judge and an assistant at least. If 20 guys show up, it might even be plausible to run two simultaneous battles? Is it possible that Bill could train up such "officials" in time for him and Fritz to actually PLAY the game for a change?


Ed Youngstrom said...


All good comments, and feedback is welcome.

First, as the officers for the club for the new year won't be elected until Jan 29, I don't think the contract has actually been signed for the convention in 2008. That said, there IS a link to the convention on the right side...but it could be highlighted better.

Hotels...are covered on the MCon page, but again we could easily help out by pointing to them. I would rather not duplicate the info, as any errors or changes may not get updated in a timely manner.

I expect that I will not actually play, except possibly as a C-in-C or reserve. Anyone else who wants to volunteer as a referee?

I also agree that Bill P. and Jim, as our guests, would prefer NOT to be doing any heavy lifting. Bill M. has been corresponding with them, and there might be a "training session" before the "main event."

Keep the ideas coming!


Bill McHenry said...


I second Ed's assesment; excellent questions and suggestions. Ed has already made a change to the Blog highlighting the Con and Hotel info a little better. However, as Ed has stated, LSHM has not elected their slate of officer's for this year yet and the contract cannot be signed until they do. Their bylaws. However (again), it was their stated objective last year that the move to the Wingate in Round Rock would be the new "home" for MCon, at least for the foreseeable future. I don't see them changing direction unless the dates are already blocked at the Wingate, which I'm sure someone checked on last year.

As to rates, the Wingate charged a special Con rate of $84 a night. We obviously can't predict or guarantee what they will charge this year, but it will probably be comparable (the Con had good attendance and the entire block of rooms was taken at the Wingate, always a good thing). As to other hotels/motels in the area, the Wingate could probably supply some leads, or you could use Expedia, Hot Wire, etc. Round Rock is a suburb just north of Austin off Interstate 35. Dell Computer is based there along with several other tech companies and there are many available hotels and motels in the immediate vicinity, some higher and some lower in price.

As to the referee/gamemaster situation: Unfortunately, that I know of, Jim and Bill are the only members of their midwestern group that have indicated they will/might attend, so that greatly reduces our "pool" of qualified talent. Ed and I are looking at a variety of solutions to this, because we very much want Bill and Jim to get to play in this one. One idea that I think has merit, depending on Bill and Jim's travel arrangements, is Ed and I getting a meeting room for Friday night, late if necessary, and setting up a very simple scenario (1 brigade vs 1 brigade with minimal cavalry and artillery) and letting Bill and/or Jim walk us through it and do a general Q&A session. Then on Saturday we can let them alone, more or less. Ed has already stated that he either will not play or will act as a reserve or C-in-C; I will either do the same or take one flank with a small command so that I can be available to "float" as needed. Ed has arranged for a game at ChimaeraCon in San Antonio in March, which will give at least three to five people some experience, and I'm going to try and have one up here (North Texas) in the summer, which should expose a couple more people.

This issue of lack of experience is one other reason that we're advocating following Bill's guidelines for size of individual commands. I'm sure all of us have a favorite set of rules, or even two or three, where we would be comfortable with much larger commands (I frequently played WRG Ancients [NOT DBx] and Renaissance games where I personally commanded 2000 to 3000 points and played against multiple opponents and concluded the game in around 3 to 4 hours, maximum. However, that was after playing, umpiring, spending long hours talking and corresponding with Phil and George, and really "living" the rules for many years.), but I don't think any of us are there with BAR yet. I am planning on bringing one conventional Infantry Brigade (which someone else will probably command) and one "mixed" brigade of horse artillery, dragoons (with dismounts), mounted Jagers and Horse - just to see how they work on a flank action. I'll probably experiment with this brigade in a couple of practice games first and, if I'm not comfortable with it, I'll scrap it and just bring Horse or Hussars. It's all about having some fun and trying something new, at least to this area.

Bill McHenry

Gallia said...


My tentative plan is to obtain salesman cases or something else that will fit under the seat in front of me and in the overhead compartment. (Clothing will be checked.) Do we not get two carry on pieces of luggage these days? Or is it one?

Whatever it is, my individually based chaps will be placed in stackable and clear boxes on their sides in layers with towels between the layers. There will be enough pressure to prevent shifting. This is how I flew to a show once upon a time years ago. This maximizes the amount per box. Standing them up will waste too much space, in my situation.

Also I think super early arrival at security might be nice so I can do a detailed show and tell, if demanded of me.

I suppose I could check the above in the cargo hold, but that seems fraught with greater perils than if I have the cases near me all the time.

Yesterday on TMP there was another newish (maybe newish) company in the UK advertising carrying cases of all sizes, company, battalion, army and so forth, with a dolly contraption. That looked pretty good, but ordering luggage from the UK seems out of order for me in the USA.

Yes. Very good idea.

I will be at the Seven Years' War Assn. gatering in South Bend, IN on March 28-29th. The BAR game is on Saturday. S. Bend has an airport BYW. Bill and/or Ed, you might want to consider attending.
This is all very exciting,
Sincere Regards,
Bill P.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Bill Protz and I typically run the game AND play in the game at the same time. I know that this sounds like it involves a bit of a "trust me" factor to the game, but Bill and I are pretty good at being impartial throughout the course of the game. Neither of us care if we win or lose so we have nothing at stake in the games.

I don't mind doing both for this game. I usually keep a small reserve brigade for myself - sometimes it gets into the fight and sometimes it doesn't. Or sometimes I will give the command to a "walk up" player who wants to play badly enough.

It sounds like I had better start investigating carry one containers for my miniatures.

Bill McHenry said...

Bill and Jim,

I think we can definitely arrange a Friday night "affair" for a run-through and Q&A session. We can also go over the scenario at that time and assign commands to those present to save some time on Saturday. Just let Ed and I know what your travel arrangements are and Ed can arrange the venue and listing and I can take care of any printing needs for handouts, etc.

Per Bill's comments on the new cases, this may not be exactly the same thing, but it certainly looks like it might work.

This soft-sided traveling case was designed for crafters working with beads or jewelry to carry their supplies to parties or Cons. I don't know the current retail, but I do know that Michael's has just about everything in their stores on clearance right now. Might be worth checking out for anyone who travels with their figures. It comes with 5 plastic boxes and they sell extras (it will hold 8). It may also hold other plastic boxes that fit your collection better, don't know. You will have to probably check one out personally.

Bill McHenry

Gallia said...


Thanks Bill M,

I went to Michaels tonight. There are a number of cases in three different locations. The largest was $59.00 with wheels and a telescoping handle. Perfect. Dimensions were 20"x20"x16". Now I need to find out if this will fit in overhead compartments of typical aircraft that fly from Milwaukee to Austin. There was only one of these left so....

A smaller version 16"x15"x11" or something like that was also there that I am sure will fit in an overhead compartment, but I preferred the larger version.

The type of salesman cases I had years ago were very costly. I do not know if they still are. However, they were very good ones.


Thank you for the tip. A very good one. Plus these cases at Michaels resembled the ones I saw on a UK site on TMP the other day. I liked those. Buying a similar type at Michaels is a heck of a lot better and only two miles from my home.

Sincere Regards,
Bill P.

Ed Youngstrom said...


I hope you had the 40% off coupon that Michaels runs about every third Sunday in the paper...


Gallia said...

Yes, my wife has it.
Bill P.

Bill McHenry said...

Bill P,

Glad it worked out for you. I wasn't aware of the larger case from their web site, I have the coupon also and will have to check it out at my local store.

Bill M

Chrisbump said...

I was able to play a game of BAR at Historicon this past week. it was a blast and I am looking forward to playing again this November. The rules take no time at all to pick up and are elegant in their simplicity.

Big battalions are key because casulaties come fast and you need to have size in order to survive your opponent's initial volley.

Initiative is critical.
I saw that Steve Miller is painting up 200 plus figures for th trip south too.