2010-12-29

2010 Mike Daddy Memorial WWII Miniatures Game

"Hey, I remember when we used to play WWII games with Mike."  So, when he's in town over the holidays, I make an effort to do it again.

For the most part when we play WWII, we play skirmish scale games: individually based infantry and about a platoon on each side.  We also play infrequently, so we seem to have settled on the Disposable Heroes ruleset.  It's easy to relearn for only one game per year, and it lacks most of the quirks we found in rules like BAPS.

For WWII, I prefer to play scenario games instead of point-based pickup games, so I've invested in a bunch of the Skirmish Campaigns scenario books.  They provide a lot of balanced scenarios with different sized forces and boards, with a credible but not overwhelming amount of research in support.

Russian tanks threaten the barn as Germans advance
from the right
This year we played Counter-Attack at Bereza, a scenario from Russia '41 - Drive on Minsk.  Mike played the Russian force, and Frank and Andy were German.  I ran this as a single-blind game.  Both sides moved their forces on a map, and I made spotting checks. When units were visible, they were placed on the board for all to see.  This slows down the game significantly, but adds a lot: when you don't know where the enemy is or what their objective is, you have to expect the unexpected.  It's dangerous to move around not knowing where the enemy is, but you need to be aggressive in order to take your objectives.


In this case, both sides had the same objective: to take and hold the two buildings on the map.  Germans started off board and approached from one side, and the Russians started on the other end of the map but on the board. No one held the buildings initially, but they were closer to the Russian side.  However, the Germans didn't know where the Russians started, so they didn't know whether they'd need to assault the building or just walk in unopposed.

Russians hold the house and threaten the German advance
Both sides had only 2 squads of infantry to take and hold the buildings, and 5 tanks or antitank guns.  The tanks were all comparable: early war lightly armed and armored.  There seemed to be two main forces at play here.  The infantry had no anti-tank capability, but they were valuable to help spot the tanks before they were placed on the board.  Tanks also have a hard time shooting infantry in this game, but they can be deadly if they can acquire a target.  Achieving armor superiority was important to save the limited infantry for the buildings.

In the first half of the game, the Russians were in a better tactical position, but lost a few tanks.  They still had a good crossfire set up, and were in cover, so they regained armor advantage before the end of the game as the Germans advanced in the open.

On the infantry side of things, the barn in the center was the first contentious point as expected.  Mike's Russians made a mad dash for the building with a heavily damaged squad, right in front of Frank's German rifle section.  He made it into cover, but the Germans drove him off in close combat shortly after.

With Frank's other section basically gone, this left Andy's squad to take the second building.  Mike moved into the house with a Russian tank crew, and then reinforced it with his squad of ninjas who made it almost to the last turn of the game before being spotted.  Andy's infantry took heavy fire, and at this point it became clear that we had a standoff. 

Although the Russians were in a stronger defensive position, the Germans had advanced past the barn.  Neither side had infantry close enough to their second objective to reach it in the two turns remaining in the scenario.  We could have fought a battle of attrition to the very end, but this was only a small part of a very wide front, so it would've been as pointless as most real wars are, and no more fun.  We called it a draw and moved on.

Some gamers who play nothing but DBA like to complain that "other games" take a really long time, and don't produce any decisive results.  Although this game was a perfect example of that phenomenon, there was no real downside this time since we all get along well.  The main point was to hang out and have fun, and we did.  I call that a win.

Hopefully Mike can make it out to Pittsburgh more often.  I enjoy these games, but I am not likely to put in as much effort as I did more than twice a year, these days.

Tlingit Camp

Here's a picture of the camp I built for my Tlingit army.  Since the Northwest Americans are a Littoral army, they will always have a waterway when they place terrain, so I decided their canoes would make a good camp.  I left room to add a totem pole, but I haven't been inspired to build it yet.

The canoes are longboats from Museum Miniatures, modified to look a bit more like Tlingit canoes on the front end.  The rear end isn't right, but it's the way the canoes  looked when I got them.  The paddlers with the canoes were totally inappropriate for precolumbian North America, so I didn't use them.

The patterns on the sides of the canoes, barely visible here, are based on images of Tlingit canoes I found via Google image search and in Flickr. 

Panzer III comparison

Here are two 15mm Panzer III models I painted.  The one on the right, "311," was painted maybe 5 years ago, and it's a Command Decision model.  It's probably a Panzer IIIF, but I don't remember the specific variant.  I painted the one on the left, "312," a week or so ago for our annual WWII game.  It's a Peter Pig PzIIIE variant.

It's hard to tell which differences between these models are due to the different variant they represent, and which are just sculpted differently.  Overall, I much prefer the quality of the Command Decision model.  The Peter Pig castings have a rougher surface and are less detailed.  The drive wheels on 311 are toothed and have properly shaped holes in them (not round) while the PP wheels were obviously just done with a drill bit.  The PP model is larger overall.

In practice, I don't think these details show very much on the game table, but if I have a choice between Command Decision and Peter Pig for a specific vehicle, I'll choose the Command Decision.

2010-12-28

WWII Russian Vehicles

Here are the Russian WWII vehicles I painted for our recent WWII game.  Since it was a blind game, I withheld these until after the game was finished.

First are four Russian T-26 tanks.  These are Command Decision models and I like them a lot.

When researching appropriate tank markings for these, I found more images of captured T-26's with German markings, than T-26's with Russian markings.  Apparently not many of them survived long enough to bother marking them up.  I added a red star to one tank to identify it as a commander, but left the rest blank.

Next is a 45mm antitank gun and a relatively light Gaz truck.  The truck looks straight out of WWI.  These are also Command Decision.

DBA Army I/24: Hittite Empire

Although I haven't made a new post in a month, I've still been busy.  Here are some pictures of my latest DBA army: I/24, Hittite Empire.

The figures are almost all Essex, but this was a semi-random selection of figures, and not from an army pack.  I bought this as a "not for the squeamish General" deal in the bazaar on the Fanaticus forum, so the figures are not all as appropriate as they should be; however, it's close enough for me.  I'll get another copy of the army if I like it enough.

Specific figure selection problems: Most of the spearmen are royal guards, and the rest are charioteers instead of ordinary spearmen.  I got a pack of generic biblical-era hordes for the horde, and got the chariot runners from JM, who also bought one of these semi-random army packs.  All of the figures with beards are somewhat inaccurate unless they're interpreted as allied forces, since Hittites were apparently known for shaving their faces.

All Hittite chariots used two horses. The heavy chariots had three passengers instead of two.  I modelled all of mine so they can be used either as light chariots in I/24a, or as heavy chariots in I/24b.  The chariot with an archer and no runner would be used as the light chariot in I/24b.

For color selection, I mostly referred to the Osprey Hittite Warrior and Ancient Armies of the Middle East books for inspiration.  They show white robes with red and blue decorations at the edges, and skirts on the guards that use brown and blue stripes.  I also read the appropriate WRG reference, which suggested shields, clothes, and chariots could be colored/painted instead of using natural leather and cloth colors.

I decided on red and blue as the main colors for the army.  Unfortunately this makes them look very similar to my Arab Conquest guys, because it uses "safe" colors I'm comfortable with.  I'm going to have to push myself next time around.

For shading, I primarily flat-painted everything, added detail and some minimal shading, and then applied Army Painter Strong Tone.  It does an adequate job on the white, but it's certainly not ideal. White is hard however you do it, and I'd rather not spend much effort on it. I pretend it's just before laundry day: how clean are soldiers going to keep their kit while on campaign, anyway?

I really like the effect Army Painter has on the horses, flesh, and offwhite colors.  It certainly gets adequate results quickly.

Achievement unlocked: You painted a horde element?  Really?

2010-11-27

Comparison: GW vs. Army Painter

Unfortunately the focus is slightly off in this image, but it gets the point across.  This is a comparison of the difference between GW's Devlan Mud wash on the left, and Army Painter's Strong Tone dip on the right.

Both figures were painted with the same base coat colors in the same areas, and both were sprayed with Army Painter dull varnish after they were dry.

Overall, for these colors I prefer the Army Painter dip.  It darkened the colors a bit less, and stayed in the cracks a bit better.  The black on boots and gun were affected less by the Army Painter dip than the wash.  I also don't like how it deadened the green helmet.

I really like Devlan Mud, and I will still use it in cases when I don't want to wash the entire figure.  But Army Painter works really well.  It's almost depressing how good a job it does, compared to making an effort.

The colors, for reference, are all Vallejo except the black which is a craft paint.  They were selected based on the Flames of War painting guide for Russian infantry:
  • Russian Green helmet (894)
  • Khaki Grey uniform (880)
  • German Camo Beige for the straps and gear (821)
Unfortunately you can hardly tell the difference between the two khakis used for uniform and belts.

WWII Russian Infantry

Here are some of the Russian Infantry I painted for this year's Mike's Memorial WWII Miniautes Game.  ("I remember back when I played games with Mike... let's do it again.")

These are 15mm figures I picked up at the flea market at Fall-In.  As far as I know they're Quality Castings, but no guarantees.  They seem small, but it may only be compared to the Ancients I usually paint. 

I got them done quickly: 50 infantry in 2 nights of painting; and another 6 LMG's in about an hour.  I used simple flat base coats of Vallejo paint and then applied a GW wash or Army Painter dip.  They came out good enough, which is just what I'm looking for.

After playtesting BAPS with Frank last night, we decided we won't be using BAPS for this game.  Instead we'll probably fall back on Disposable Heroes again.

My First Sauerkraut

What? A post that isn't about games?  Weird.

On the way home from Fall-In (obligatory gaming reference), I picked up some home made Sauerkraut at a farm stand.  I mentioned to JM "I like live food.  Well, as long as it's small enough that it won't run away."  It was pretty good sauerkraut, and it reminded me that I wanted to try making my own.  Apparently lots of people are doing this these days, but I hadn't done it yet.


After finding a suitable bucket (Thanks, Brigid and Ross!) I'm good to go.  This one gallon bucket seems to be the perfect size for one large head of cabbage.  The container of water is a weight to press the liquid out of the cabbage... not much to see here. 


I'll update in a while when I see how it's coming along.

2010-11-07

Fall-In 2010: Gallic Wars Campaign

The Two Davids DBA campaign games are a highlight of the HMGS conventions.  When I heard the theme at Fall-In was going to be Gallic Wars, I had mixed feelings.  I don't like the Gauls as an army, but I basically already had them painted anyway so it wouldn't require any effort.  After actually playing the campaign, I changed my mind: this was an excellent campaign and I really enjoyed playing this army in historical context (but without Romans).

The campaign had 20 players, with only 7 armies that weren't a (possibly modified) Gallic list.  There were two Romans, but most of the other armies were also warband-heavy.  Most of the armies were built around a core of warband, and this gave me a lot of opportunities to learn how to use them (or how not to use them).  The armies were all quite evenly matched, but the Davids customized some of the lists, and this provided just enough variation to keep things interesting.

I've written a bit about the campaign format before, so I'll stick to what actually happened.  Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures during this event, so you'll have to use your imaginaion.

In the first campaign round I drew a high enough number that I was attacked: by David Kuijt.  This was a short but interesting game.  I  set up to one side of a central wood, but a road ran the length of the board on the other side.  DK ran down the road to take the woods at my flank.  Although I immediately knew the danger, and managed not to get my cavalry sucked into the woods, I did make enough mistakes to lose.  I didn't have enough warband close to the woods to hold it; and I wasn't aggressive enough running around the woods with my cavalry to maintain an advantage with the foot I did have.  The entire battle was fought over the woods, the rest of the board hardly made any difference.

The tile selection was modified somewhat this time.  Battle winners always chose two tiles and assigned one to their minions.  David gave me the 1, allowing me to attack.  I chose to fight against David Bostwick.  Unfortunately, I also got the 1 on all my combat rolls, and I was quickly and completely crushed.  I made first contact, and chose fights that were to my advantage; even so, I lost 3 elements on my turn.  On David's turn, he killed 3 more of my elements.  Several of these were 3-2 in my favor, which required a 6-1 split for me to lose... but I managed, somehow.  I lost, but was still DK's vassal.

The next round David Bostwick chose the tiles, and kept the 1 for himself; apparently I lost it in my failed attack against him.  He wanted a rematch, and attacked me back.  This game was a bit longer, but it was still bloody... and luckily, this time it went in my favor.  However, since I defended, I didn't gain him as a vassal.

In the fourth round, I almost had a low enough number to attack... but not quite, so Jan Spoor attacked me.  I don't remember this game well, but I think this was when I decided double-ranked Warband were too dangerous to use regularly: I lost 4 elements in the form of two warbands along with their rear support.  This put me under Jan's control and lost DK a vassal.

Meanwhile, in round 4, an interesting thing happened.  Two vassal trees attacked each other in a way that resulted in a loop.  Larry was DK's vassal; Rob was Larry's vassal; Doug was Rob's vassal; and DK was Doug's vassal.  Apparently there were some intergenerational marriages going on here.  I think this was the first time this happened in a campaign game, and the main result was that all of these players ended up with big targets on their backs because claiming any of them would break the loop and potentially give control of all four of them to a new master.

In the final round, I was able to attack again and attacked David Shepps, who was playing Early Germans.  He had no mounted support, and deployed to the side of a board-splitting wall of woods in a line of double ranked warband, with a warband and psiloi perpendicular and behind to protect his flank.  I attacked frontally but also advanced two warbands through the woods.  They acted as bait and died for their service; but it disrupted his line enough for me to take advantage of him and eventually secure a win.  I won with 5 elements killed to his 4, a close match.  This gave me my first vassal ever!

In the end, I feel like I played well, learned a lot about warbands, and overall had a really great time.  I'm looking forward to future Two Davids campaigns that have more similar armies like this.  It's sort of like playing a tight theme night at Legions but with more games and a wider variety of opponents.

2010-11-04

Fall-In 2010: Open Scramble

Saturday afternoon was the Open Scramble format tournament.  I thoroughly enjoyed this event and look forward to playing a similar event again.

The Scramble format is interesting and different, but like Matched Pairs, you have to be willing to let other players touch your army.  In the first round, each player gets a random army from one of the other players, and is matched against a random enemy.  Players were required to select specific terrain pieces to be used in all rounds as well.  In the second round, winning armies are matched with losing players, but no player can use their own army.  In the last round, each player uses their own army.

The organizers of this event decided to use a timer to ensure the rounds were all exactly one hour long.  I liked this official time keeping, but probably only because my games weren't too long.  

I brought two "beater armies" for JM and I to use. These are built primarily from the "old school" Carthaginians I bought at Historicon, and since I didn't paint them and they're already mostly damaged, I didn't mind if anyone else used them. I let JM use Gauls (II/11), which I was saving for the Gallic Wars event, and I used Later Carthaginians (II/32) without any elephants, and with 2x3Wb, 1x2Ps for the other option.


In the first round, I ended up with JM's Gauls, and I was matched against Jason Bostwick, using Later Achaemenid Persians (II/7) with the all-Auxilia option and a scythed chariot. 

This game was over quickly.  Once again I was crushed by an invincible Scythed Chariot.  Jason flanked me and rolled up my line, winning 4g-0 (as shown on the right).

Our results were so skewed that we predicted I'd end up with Jason's army from the first round, and he'd play with mine; and that's just what happened.



In the second round, I played Later Achaemenid Persians against JM, who had some kind of Crusaders... early, perhaps?  "I came all this way to play against you?"

He defended and set up terrain.  I ended up with a large wood on one flank, and he set up in a line to avoid it.  I set up on my left flank, intending to use the woods as a highway for my light foot, and sweep around his flank on my left while denying his right flank.

This is exactly what happened.  It was a long, hard fought battle, and early on I lost many combats that were statistically in my favor; including losing the scythed chariot almost immediately. Eventually my luck turned and I killed enough elements to win.  Neither of us remember the final score or have pictures of it, unfortunately, but we know the organizers' notes were incorrect.


In the final round, I fought against Zenboy, aka Michael Downey.  I had my Later Carthaginians, and Zenboy played his Later Achaemenid Persians.  He defended, and placed a wood on one side with two gentle hills and a road that played no effect in the game.

This was a much more straightforward fight than the previous one: we stood in a line and walked straight forward, both of us happy with the element-to-element matchups we had.  Zenboy lost his Scythed Chariot early on against my psiloi, and it was all downhill from there.  Judging by the final photo at the right, I ended up losing only one light horse, and he lost 5 (since the SCh didn't count towards victory).

The most interesting part of the game was when I used my warband against his psiloi-supported auxilia.  I used one warband to turn the psiloi out of supporting position, and attacked with the front warband first.  He killed the auxilia, and then advanced into flank support position for the second combat against his psiloi, which also died.  I learned something; maybe next time I'll be able to set that one up on purpose :)


I really enjoyed this event, despite the fact that every round I played with or against an army I brought, and only one army in one game was an army I don't own.  All my opponents were fun to play with, and I learned some tangible lessons.  I like the balancing factor provided by people playing with armies other than their own. I'd like to play another scramble format event, but next time I hope I get to play with some new and intresting armies.

Fall-In 2010: 1491 Pyramid Event

There were two niche events covering the same theme: American armies.  Since I had painted my Tlingit (IV/11) and a camp, I originally planned to play in both events.  After playing in the first event on Friday night, I was uninspired to get up early on Saturday just for my bows to die versus Warbands again.

"1491" was a pyramid format event on Friday night.  In this format, the first round is a series of 1-on-1 games.  In the second round, the winners and losers are combined to form two player teams who play each other, carrying over their losses from the first round.  Luckily we had 8 players, allowing the third round to be two full four-on-four games.

I've enjoyed the Pyramid format in the past, but unfortunately I didn't have as much fun this time.  Although I really like the way my Tlingit look, the Northwest Americans (IV/11) just aren't very competitive against their contemporary enemies.  They have 10 bows, and I didn't play against anything except warband-heavy armies in this event.

In the first round, I lost against Ted Galacci, 4-1.  In this event, they matched one game's winner with the other's loser, to enourage you to really wipe out the other guy.  In the second game, Bob Beattie was my commander in chief, and JM played under Ted's leadership.  Our side won 7-2, which sent JM and Ted to play under our enemy's C-in-C; and we got Mike Guth and another player whose name I unfortunately forget; he left early.

By the last round, both sides had 25 elements.  Or was it 27?  Maybe 26.  I think it was 25.  In any case: this was four players playing about 2 armies worth of elements.  We rolled 4 PIP dice and they were assigned by the C-in-C appropriately.  This left us with almost twice as many PIPs per element compared to a normal game, giving a relative advantage to warbands and players who maneuver inefficiently.

In the end, we lost.  JM's three remaining elements apparently killed more than their weight in gold... shiny, Aztec gold.

The goal of matching winners with players who lost to someone else was to encourage players to kill as much as possible instead of making arrangements to lose with minimal losses and gain an advantage in later rounds.  I'm not sure this worked out as well as it was intended to.  I don't think it was as satisfying to play under the command of someone who didn't beat you; and unless you made an effort to avoid it, it was easy to end up playing against your original opponent in subsequent games.  Finally, I think the game works better with more elements in play during the later games.

I'm currently not very inspired to play my Tlingit.  They're pretty, but 10 bows and 2 psiloi, while flexible, don't leave much room for deception. I think I'll have to let them sit on the shelf for a while to rebuild my interest.

I am interested in trying another Pyramid format event.  JM and I discussed it on the way home, and decided that Samurai armies would work well in this format.  Battles between individual Samurai and joining forces against a common foe feel just about right for this period.

2010-11-03

Fall-In 2010: BBDBA Doubles

JM and I formed "Team Red Meat" at the Fall-In BBDBA doubles competition.  The name was inspired by a combination of factors: we're first time competitors, aka "fresh meat;" and I really enjoy the Red Meat comic.  Unfortunately I never remembered to say "I hate you, Milkman Dan!"

Larry heckled us a bit for planning ahead and bringing a document describing our plans.  Yes, we were inspired by the Two Davids who make similar documents in preparation for their battles.  However, our goal was not primarily to win.  We only wanted to fail to make utter fools of ourselves, and I think we succeeded.

Planning ahead allowed us to think on our own time instead of wasting our opponents' time, and gave us a baseline to measure what worked and what didn't so we could learn more quickly.  Neither JM nor I have a very strong knowledge of historical tactics used by real generals, and neither of us have much experience in BBDBA or other larger scale Ancients games, so planning was also intended to offset our deficit in experience.  I'm glad we did it and we'll likely do it again, for similar reasons.

There were eight entries in this tournament.  The field was split by army year into two groups of 4, and everyone played everyone else in each group.  The winners in each group played the finals some time after the convention was over; I never heard the final result.

We fielded Warring States Chinese: Chao (II/4c).  As seen in earlier posts, I painted two of the armies and JM painted the third.  No one noticed our use of 3Cb instead of 4Cb or our single Russian light horse stand in with the Chinese; though neither had any effect on gameplay.  Our command split was the same in all our games:
  • Mid PIP (C-in-C): 2xHCh (gen), 3x2LH, 6x4Sp, 3x4Cb, 2x2Ps; 16 elements, breakpoint 6
  • High PIP: 4xHCh (gen), 3x2LH, 3x4Sp, 3x4Cb; 13 elements, breakpoint 5
  • Low PIP: 3x4Sp (gen), 3x4Cb, 1x2Ps; 7 elements, breakpoint 3

Stooges: Larry and Will
Our first game was against Larry and his honorary Stooge partner Will.  "We came all this way to play against you?"  They brought Seleucids (II/19), which combined the elements that posed our greatest anticipated challenge: pikes and elephants. We forgot about the possibility of Scythed Chariots, and they were the killer this game.

We defended, and set up terrain as planned: three small central hills with a road the long way behind one.  It wasn't much, but we placed it where we hoped we could take more advantage of it than our enemy.

The plan for elephants was to avoid them, or try to shoot them with bows.  Larry had an interesting command structure around his elephants: he combined three elephants and three scythed chariots with one other element.  Since the expendible chariots don't count towards the break point, the command needs to lose 6 of its 7 elements before it's destroyed, providing additional protection for the elephants.

Death by Scythed Chariot
For the pike, we wanted to outflank them with light horse and peel them apart.  Unfortunately, they used their pike in passive defense of a well defended position.  We decided to win elsewhere, and didn't approach the pike.  I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not.

Our failure and prompt demise came on the opposite flank.  Will's scythed chariots totally destroyed our line, and then broke through to the road where they could kill whatever they wanted.  These things are called "expendibles" for a reason: they aren't supposed to live very long.  Will rolled really well a few times, and that provided him with the tactical advantage to roll us up.  This was our fastest loss in the tournament.  One important lesson I learned here, was to pay attention when to let your broken command flee.  They're only useful when they're still in the way; after that, they're screwing up the high/low/mid PIP die rolls.


Two Davids: Kuijt and Schlanger
In the second game, we faced the Two Davids: David Schlanger and David Kuijt playing some kind of Romans (Early Imperial, I think) with an ally (Arabo-Aramean, I think).  Their army didn't have any particularly problematic elements, but the Davids are very good players.

We defended again, and placed a waterway to reduce our time to contact.  It did an adequate job of that, but probably wasn't really necessary since neither of us was particularly fast.

They refused our left flank with their artillery and forced us to play our attacking force on our right.

This was a very interesting game, I enjoyed it a lot. There was a lot of back and forth on our attacking flank, but the Davids did a great job and I learned a lot.  We had some localized advantages on occasion, but unfortunately I missed our prime opportunity to pull a win from the jaws of defeat.  I had a chariot within striking range of the enemy camp, and asked DS about the finer points of attacking a camp.  I decided not to attack the camp, but in the mean time I missed the fact that I could've flanked their commander in chief, which might have ended the game in our favor instantly.  Instead, they broke our high PIP command, then a second command, and won.

A lesson on the virtues of a subtly painted C-in-C
The Davids did a wonderful job of using two of their commands against one of ours, and winning through PIP advantage.  The high PIP Roman command and the allied command were next to each other, and moved into overlapping positions.  This allowed both commands to work together and share PIPs, whether the critical position ended up being in the center or on the flank.  We tried to start doing this later in this game and throughout our next game, but since we hadn't planned for it, we didn't do a great job.

I think the Davids' choice to use an Ally makes this easier: by placing the ally next to the high PIP command, they can always easily tell which elements are a part of each command.  The downside is that ordinary maneuvers are always more expensive since they're split across two commands and can't use a single PIP group move.


Team Canuk: Colin Rice and Michael Saunders
Our third game was against Team Canuck: Michael Saunders and Colin Rice.  They played Patrician Roman (East) II/83b, I believe. They had a wide variety of troops, but without any elements that were particularly problematic for us.

They defended and placed terrain: a wall of woods down the center of half the board, a road perpendicular, and the rest of the board empty.  They set up their first two commands in the open area, and left their bad going troops (aux, warband) in their last command.

We didn't stand a chance in the woods, so we compressed our spears into double ranks against their knights and stuffed ourselves into narrow frontage in the open.  We tried to overlap our commands somewhat, but we limited this to the elements we could tell apart when they stood next to each other.  They deployed their light troops behind their main line, and the entire battle was limited to one half of the board.

They redeployed on their baseline while we ran hell to leather
They ended up spending several turns to redeploy and maneuver their troops without advancing at all, before we made contact.  We were running as fast as we could, but just couldn't get there before they had time to fix their deployment problems.

Once our lines met, we had an advantage early on and damaged all of their commands, but none to the breaking point. It felt like we had a real chance of winning.  We even had several 4-3 rolls against their C-in-C, but they all failed. 

Finally, the Canadian luck turned, and they broke our commands before we did anything else to theirs.  Just before time ran out for the round, they killed us.


I really enjoyed this event, and I look forward to playing BBDBA Doubles again.  JM and I worked well together, and I think with a few refinements we can increase our expectations to include actually winning a game.  Our plans were not obviously bad, and I'm glad we spent time on them.  Their simplicity helped us implement them correctly.

Neither of us are content with our army choice, but we want to revisit the army "later."  Warring States Chinese are quite low on bad going troops, and don't have many different element types available.

Between the two of us, we have enough BBDBA armies to practice together effectively, and with our current level of motivation we should probably start soon.  I wouldn't want to give any secrets away, so I won't mention our options for Cold Wars.

2010-11-02

Fall-In 2010 Summary

Almost everything went according to plan; at least, nothing went horribly wrong.  JM and I had a great weekend and we both hope to go to more conventions in the future.

Driving to Lancaster always confuses me for some reason, and I found new and different ways to get "almost lost".  We made it there in time for registration, but just missed getting into Larry's game (Auxilirama).

Staying at the Lancaster Host was a good idea, and I'll do it again.  It costs more than the closest cheap hotels, but being in the same building as the convention left more time for gaming between sleep breaks.  We still had to go outside to get to the dealer hall, otherwise I wouldn't have gone outside all weekend.

Speaking of the dealer hall: I seem to be getting better at not buying things I'm not going to paint.  Between the dealer hall and flea market, the only unpainted figures I bought were 15mm early WWII Russians.  I plan to paint these up for a scenario I'll run when Mike is in town over the holidays.  I'll have to fire up the airbrush, since "all one color" is faster that way.  I also bought a variety of other materials and accessories: more bases-by-the quart and adhesive "plasteel" from GF9; a few nicer road segments for DBA; and some cards from an obsolete CCG.

Apparently, last year was the first year they started supporting Toys for Tots at Fall-In.  Besides collecting toys, they also get donations of games, models, figures, and supplies from vendors and individual modellers, and either raffle or auction off the donations.  All proceeds go to Toys for Tots... it's for the kids!  I have no problem donating money to a good cause, so why not get something good out of it too?

So with that in mind, I won two auctions.  One was a set of foam core buildings, 28mm scale.  These were built by hand with a printed veneer to add a great amount of detail without having to actually paint them.  They're the perfect scale and style for Malifaux, and they'll complement our existing terrain nicely.  I also won a 28mm Greek Hoplite army for DBA.  It's not likely to be a big winner in any tournaments, but it's a better size for demonstrations and kid-sized hands, and it'll allow me to play in 25mm DBA events in the future.

I played in all of the events I planned to enter, except the Armies of the Americas event on Saturday morning.  It was early: 9am; and I needed a time to dedicate to shopping without a time limit.  Armies of the Americas was very similar to the 1491 event the night before, and I'd have used the same army for both events.  Unfortunately I got sick of playing my all-bow army pretty quickly... but more about that later.

This was my first convention playing nothing but DBA.  I don't miss "all the random events" very much.  The comraderie of playing a game I know I like with a group of opponents I've played with before more than makes up for the lack of variety.  In the future, I wouldn't mind spending one or two slots testing out some new rules if there's something that looks really interesting, but I won't miss it if that doesn't happen.

2010-10-28

Fall-In 2010 Plans

Fall-In is this weekend! JM and I are driving out tomorrow.  It's in Lancaster, and we got a room in the Lancaster Host where the convention is, so we don't have to leave the building all weekend except to go to the dealer hall (if it's still out back).

Although I feel a bit burned out on DBA, it's the main plan for this weekend.  I've basically packed the weekend with events; hopefully I can sneak out to the flea market once or twice.

We want to register on Thursday so probably won't play in Larry's Auxilirama game.  I won't be bringing an eligible army for this.

Friday morning until 6pm is BBDBA doubles, and Team Red Meat has a plan.  Basically I'm going to lose and say "I hate you, Milkman Dan!" a lot like a whiny little girl.

JM and I are bringing Warring States: Chao (II/4c).  Two of the armies are mine and JM's providing the third.  We aren't likely to do particularly well, since we can count the combined number of BBDBA games we've played on one hand and some of those were against each other.  But we did think ahead enough that we hopefully won't slow everyone else down too much.  I'll post more on that after it's done.

Friday evening is 1491: New World Dominance, an American army pyramid tournament.  I really enjoyed the pyramid format at Battle at the Crossroads earlier this year. However, with at least two Mound Builders in the Northern bracket, I'm very likely to face them, and they provide a formidable opponent to most other eligible armies.  I'll be fielding my Tlingit (IV/11) with their newly completed camp, without a totem pole for now.

Finally, Midnight Madness starts at... well, 11pm.  I guess they call it "Almost Midnight Madness" now.  I'll choose an army based on whatever I feel like at the time, but most likely Later Carthaginians (II/32) with warbands but no elephants.

Hopefully I'll wake up in time for Armies of the Americas at 9am on Saturday.  This is a non-pyramid format tournament with the same eligible armies as the pyramid tournament.  I'll be playing my Tlingit (IV/11) again.

At 1pm is an Open Scramble.  You play 4 rounds, but don't use your own army until the last round.  In the first round you use your enemy's army and after that the winningest players use the losingest armies until the last round when you use the one you brought.  I was planning on using Later Carthaginians (II/32) again, but come to think of it... maybe Gauls (II/11) would be better.  Or worse.  It's not clear which is preferrable.  In any case, JM will use the army I'm not using.  They're both beater armies, made up mostly from the quadruple Carthaginian army I got at the Historicon flea market. I won't mind if they get a bit beat up by strangers.

5pm starts the Two Davids campaign: Gallic Wars. I'm playing Gauls (II/11) just like everyone else... but I'm using a modified list.  Oh! I'd better go bring figures for the unmodified version to use in the Open.

That's "it."  I've managed to pack 5 armies for 6 events, including 2/3 of a BBDBA triple army.  That's not necesarily a good thing, though, since I'll probably be sick of playing all of them by the end of the weekend.

Despite having a weekend full of DBA, there are other events I'm missing that I'd enjoy.  There are several Hordes of the Things themed events, and some 25mm events I don't have an army for.

2010-10-27

Malifaux: Samael Hopkins

Samael Hopkins
I finished Samael Hopkins, another Guild figure I started along with Perdita and her crew.  I was disturbed by his superfluity of straps and decided to set him aside for a while.

He was a bit easier to paint than I expected, but I totally cheesed out on his boots and knee pads.  I decided that the sculpt has enough detail as it is, I don't need to try to ruin it with too much fancy paint.  So I just used black with a bit of grey highlighting.

This time, my Army Painter dull varnish was really really dull.  It's not as dusty looking in real life, but it still doesn't photograph well.  I picked out the metallics with gloss varnish. 

I got this figure on discount without a card, and I'm unwilling to pay Wyrd's shipping price for a single $.50 card, so I may have to make my own.

2010-10-20

Malifaux Terrain

Here are a few shacks I painted up for Malifaux.

These are from an O-scale model railroad plastic kit.  It's the Hobo Jungle from Bachmann's Plasticville USA series.   Despite its horrifyingly bad name, there are a few good models in the Plasticville range.

According to the TMP All About Scales page, O-scale is supposed to be 1/43.5 scale or equivalent to 37mm miniatures.  In practice, these are great with the 32mm Malifaux figures and fit well alongside Mordheim terrain (intended for 28mm).  They're quite small overall, and most of our 32mm figures won't fit through the doorways.

I'm not sure how brown can be described as "bright," but I think some of these turned out brighter than I intended. The rusted metal turned out well enough, though the rust may be a bit too "fresh" looking... or just too bright.

I also have a Plasticville sniper water tower to put together, and I haven't finished the outhouse from the Hobo Village.  I think I'll put the outhouse on the edge of a swamp terrain piece.

DBA: Gallic Cavalry

I wanted to play in the Two Davids campaign at Fall-In, and this time the theme is Gallic Wars. Almost all of the armies are Gauls, with a few Romans to kick around and maybe a few others who aren't even as civilized as the Gauls.  I had most of a Gallic army in the form of Carthaginian allies; I just needed some cavalry to round out the list.

In this campaign, I chose the Remi.  These guys are allowed more cavalry and less warband, so I painted 4 elements (the maximum).  None of the cavalry are allowed to be chariots.

These are Black Hat miniatures that I added to one of JM's orders.  I really don't like the rest of my Gallic figures, they're very "old school."  These are also fairly old school sculpts, and they aren't my favorite figures, but I'm happy with how they came out considering how much effort I put into them.  I painted them as quickly as possible, by blocking out the solid colors and then using more of my Army Painter Strong Tone quickshade dip.  That's the only shading done on them, but this stuff works really well.  The figures had enough sharp detail to catch the dip.

I'm a lot happier with these than I thought I'd be before I painted them.  I don't like Gauls, don't like the rest of the army, and don't really like these sculpts.  They may be a bit too bright, but I skimped and didn't paint any plaid.

Malifaux: Nino and Santiago

 I finished painting Nino and Santiago Ortega, for my Malifaux Perdita crew.

Nino's repeating rifle is excellent at long range, and his Hunter ability lets him shoot into cover more effectively.  Nino reminds me a bit of Badger from Firefly, mostly because of his bowler hat.  I'm afraid he's going to break off at the ankle, but I'll just try not to drop him.
I looked a others' interpretations of santiago online, and there is a clear consensus: he wears blue pants (jeans) with an offwhite shirt (dirty t-shirt) and a brown duster.

The figures are displayed here on the second floor of one of Frank's ruined houses. 

2010-10-19

Malifaux: Cowboys versus Samurai


Frank and I played a 25 stone game of Malifaux on Saturday. We had a surprisingly balanced outcome compared to most past games, and we played through 5 turns before the end.

I chose my Perdita crew, set up straight out of the box: Perdita, Santiago, Francesco, Nino, and Papa Loco. Frank didn't actually have any samurai, he chose his Viktoria crew: 2 Viktorias, 3 Ronin, and Misaki. I had the advantage in ranged combat, but Frank's crew had high mobility and great melee.

Andy was around to watch and learn, so he set up terrain. We flipped on the extended encounter chart and wound up with a Shared Deliver a Message strategy: both of us had to take a (2) interact action within 2" of the enemy Master, to deliver a message and gain victory points. This ended up having a large effect on the way we played, which means that as a game strategy, "it worked."

We announced all our schemes.  I chose to Bodyguard Perdita, and to Kill the Protege: Misaki.  I chose Bodyguard since Deliver a Message required Frank to keep Perdita alive; but in retrospect it wasn't the best choice, as it gave Frank more incentive to kill Perdita as a contingency plan.  Frank chose Steal Relic, which also required him to take an action near Perdita, and Gather Soulstones: end the game with more stones than me.  He started with only 3 stones and I had 2; but he had the option of sacrificing Ronin to get more stones.

For the first few turns, I did the most important thing possible: get Papa Loco as far away from me as possible, and close to Frank; so when he dies, the explosion doesn't hurt me.  We got surprisingly close to each other on the first turn, and had a bit of a shootout.  Papa didn't survive, I'm sorry to say, and his final explosion had no effect.  One of Frank's Ronin died soon after: Perdita shot her for failing to Obey her orders to run down Misaki.

In the mean time, the Viktorias were approaching Nino and Santiago around a building, while Misaki hid behind it.   The two remaining Ronin were on the other flank, seemingly out of the action for now.  The Viktorias hit Santiago in melee, and in response he took 2 actions to Deliver the Message.  Since I completed the scheme first, I got 3VP.

At this point, Santiago survived long odds for longer than I expected. All my remaining guys emptied their guns at the Viktorias in rapid succession, in one huge Companion activation for the whole crew.  Since I was shooting into combat, all of the shots required me to randomly determine which model was the target, but Santiago avoided all but one of the attacks.  Unfortunately, the only luck I had was used up missing Santiago; I also did almost no damage to the Viktorias.

On their turn, Viktoria (no, the other one) killed Santiago, and Frank's remaining Ronin closed in on Perdita, locking her in combat.  He Delivered the Message for only 1 VP, and then Stole my Relic (so we thought) and started running away.  I killed Misaki.  By now we were both out of soulstones, and the score was at 7VP for me (completing the strategy and both schemes) and 4 for Frank.

But the game wasn't over yet.  Frank killed Perdita, knocking me down to 5VP.  For him to win, he needed to keep one Ronin alive (giving him 2 of his current 5VP) and sacrifice the other to gain soulstones (for another 2VP).  For me to win, I needed to kill either of his Ronin.

In the final turn (turn 5), my shooting was ineffective but Frank's was not.  He got initiative, allowing him to get one Ronin out of the way. I wasn't able to kill the other because it was Hard to Kill, and Frank cleaned out all of my remaining crew with the Viktorias.

So in the end, it seemed like Frank won with 6 VP, and I had 5VP.  But wait! He realized he was supposed to make a Willpower duel in order to steal my relic, but we forgot to do it. The result is unclear; but I think with the cards I had, I wouldn't have been able to beat him.

I made some mistakes: I spent too much time shooting with Perdita to remember to keep her out of harm's way.  I expected more from my guns based on their past performance, and Perdita was frustrated that no one would Obey her.

The strategies and schemes definitely affected gameplay and our play motivations.  I put Perdita into danger, counting on Frank not to harm her until he got his strategy and scheme VP's... unfortunately I wasn't able to get her out of trouble quickly enough once that happened.  In the end, I could've won the game with all my models lost, if I had only killed one more model.  I still really like the Malifaux encounter system, and we haven't repeated any strategies yet.

I like this crew, especially how different it is from Ramos. I also the opportunity to demonstrate that it was in fact possible to beat them; maybe now I'll hear fewer complaints about how broken they are.

2010-10-01

When all you have is a hammer...

"When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a cat."

Johann, facing off two groups of Hoar Cats, a Cerberus Sabertooth, and a Ronin, is sure to die. It's been a long time since Johann has gotten a hit off with his giant hammer, but I think my spiders saved the day, this time...

2010-09-22

Minecraft

I started playing Minecraft, but I was hampered by a nearly complete lack of instructions. It's a fun open-world sandbox game, but it's easy to get frustrated until you know how to control things.

Here is a basic control summary, targetted for people unfamiliar with normal game controls. It's based on my limited experience with the Mac standalone executable version Alpha 1.1.2 in single player "free weekend while the website is down" mode.

I'm playing on a laptop without a right mouse button: ctrl-clicking is the same as a right button click, just like everywhere else in Mac land.

The most commonly used controls:

  • Look around using the mouse pointer
  • Move using the standard WASD keys
    • W moves forward
    • S moves backward
    • A slides left
    • D slides right
  • Jump using the space bar: you can jump one block high, to climb hills
  • 0-9 select the on-screen inventory item slots. 
  • Left click to destroy the block (or creature, aka "mob") you're pointing at. The most important clue: press and hold the left button to break blocks, don't click it rapidly.
  • Right click (ctrl-click) to place the currently selected block where you're pointing
  • I opens your inventory
    • I or esc to close inventory
    • left click to pick stuff up
    • right click to pick up half a stack
    • left click to put stuff down somewhere else in your inventory
    • right click to put down one item from a stack
I've also found that multitouch on the Mac scrolls through the 0-9 inventory slots, and it can zoom your screen in and out if you have ctrl pressed. I don't find this useful, but it was an explanation for why "weird things" happened when I didn't realize I was resting another finger on the touch pad.

I don't want to spoil very much, but staying alive for a few days is important if you want to make any progress. Skip this section if you prefer a challenge or know how to use Google search. Penny-Arcade provided a good summary introduction to Minecraft with a good starting strategy for "survival mode" (single player): build a shelter as
soon as possible, without any human-sized entrances. When night falls, wait in there to avoid the zombies.

It's good to build a shelter near where you started the game, since that's where you'll return after you die. You might build a spire above it so you can find it from a distance: the map can be confusing until you get used to it, and you'll want to get home quickly as night falls.

The Minepedia has an excellent introduction to crafting, providing a useful reference during gameplay. You need tools to mine stone, and need a workbench to make tools, so start by knocking down some trees and collecting logs. A workbench and tools will also give you stuff to do at night.

If you know me in real life and want to play on my server, send me an e-mail.

2010-09-14

Malifaux Update

I've taken a break from painting DBA models, and finished some more Malifaux figures.
Here is Ramos with his mechanical minions.  I've added another Steampunk Arachnid Swarm and an Electrical Creation.  I've always used Johann in this crew, but he seems to be best at dying.  When a few more nice looking models are released from the Rising Powers set, I'll be adding those.

I've also built some scrap counters to match my crew, since Ramos needs scrappy bits to convert into more spiders.  In the center is a treasure counter I modelled for Mordheim, that I've been using when the need arises in Malifaux.  Of course, I replace the Wyrdstone with Soulstones first.
I'm also painting a Perdita crew.  I'm very happy with the way her pants turned out, but she definitely has a face made for radio; luckily she keeps a hat over it.  Once again I started this crew with a full can of Army Painter dull varnish.  Unfortunately it's hard to shake the can enough, which results in a semi-gloss finish at the beginning of the can, and an ultra-flat finish near the end of the can.


And here's the star of our show: Francesco "Zappa" Ortega, aka The Grand Wazoo.  Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?

His cohorts may consider his shirt a bit flambouyant, but Francesco always uses the right tool for the job.

Papa Loco likes fire.  Heh.  Blow stuff up!

I still have a few more Ortegas to paint before I can field a full Guild crew.  I also have a Peacekeeper, because I like the big robots; and Samael Hopkins. I'll post more pictures once they're finished.

2010-08-30

Old Bedford Village: Drums in the Forest

Last weekend we went to Old Bedford Village.  This is a historical reenactment village in central PA, similar to places such as Colonial Williamsburg, Old Sturbridge Village, or Strawbery Banke.  This weekend was Drums in the Forest: a reenactment of Braddock's Defeat held every 5 years in the forest just outside the village.

We arrived in the midst of the reenactment.  As with most publicly viewable reenactments I've seen, this one seemed heavy on the show and light on accuracy (or, maybe I'm just an eternal critic who doesn't know what he's talking about).  It seems that when you're reenacting a specific event, it's hard to find enough properly uniformed troops, these days.  There were plenty of irregulars, but there didn't seem to be enough properly uniformed British.  Truthfully, if I were tromping through these woods I'd leave my bright red coat at home too.

There was lots of smoke and plenty of muzzle flashes, but I had a hard time avoiding the image of a bunch of boys running around in the woods yelling "Bang!" (and this is coming from a "grown man" who plays with toy soldiers as a hobby).

Although I found the reenactment a bit disappointing, I consider that to be my fault and not theirs.  The whole family thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the village, and I was able to have fun once I managed to put things into perspective.  The permanent installations provided many good demonstrations of period industry and craft, and all of the reenactors looked and acted wonderful as long as I ignored the context of the massacre they attempted to demonstrate.  The reenactor's tent encampment would have been a lot more interesting to me than the reenactment itself, but since they were actually living there (for the night), it felt like a big invasion of their limited privacy even though they probably expected it.  I expect the reenactors probably call us all "muggles" and complain about us behind our backs.

Personally, I find the individual demonstrations of professions such as leatherworking, weaving, cooperage, candle making, tinsmithing, and basketmaking in the context of the homes or shops where they were done a lot more interesting than presenters talking to an audience about what was done and why.  Orating about period Colonial dress is not as compelling to me as seeing the place someone lived, and experiencing the limitations of their life that inspired the solutions they implemented in their industry. 

The buildings at Bedford have interesting stories as well.  Some of them were moved, log by log and stone by stone, from other locations to this site.  I'm reminded of the family who tore out their new house's "modernized" drywall to find a log cabin underneath... and they were wondering why it was so hard to run wires through the walls?

2010-08-21

DBA at Legions, Friday August 20

This month's theme for DBA on the third Friday of the month at Legions was Chinese armies and their enemies.  There were 5 of us; unfortunately, at least JM, Kevin, and Larry couldn't make it.

I played II/4c: Warring States Chines, Chao the whole night, and managed to get in a game against everyone.

First, I faced Jim's Sung Chinese (III/61), with a single Artillery.  He was defender, and set up on one half of the board, with his deployment zone bisected by a steep hill.  My response wasn't ideal, and I made some mistakes (not following my plan, and moving my LH where they didn't need to go).  In the end, he beat me 4-1. 

Next I faced Neal, who borrowed Jim's Ming Chinese (IV/73) with two Artillery.  I defended and placed triangular terrain with two steep hills and a wood (with a road through the middle).  He attempted to flank me around the wood with his two light horse, but I managed to repel them with a single element of crossbow, and kill one in the process.  I approached his artillery and bows with my spears.  His shooting was ineffective even after many shots, but I killed one of his bows in the woods.  I think my other kills were blades by my knights, but I don't remember very well.  It was a pretty even match that finally ended with me winning 4-2.

In my third game, I defended against Rich's Southern Dynasty Chinese (II/79) including an Elephant.  I placed a small central wood and a gentle hill bisecting one deploment line.  I deployed facing the side opposite the hill, with my forces concentrated on my left and my bows moving towards the wood.  He placed his elephant on the road directly approaching my line. 

My deployment was adequate, but not spectacular, and Rich had the upper hand early on with expected matchups.  He moved his elephant down the road, supported by blades, toward my spear line.  However, he was frustrated by poor PIP rolls: he rolled a single 3 and nothing else higher than 2 for PIPs for the whole game.  I was able to use my higher PIPS to maneuver into better matchups and pushed his elephant back, but I was very vulnerable at some points, if he only had enough moves to take advantage of my position.  I ended up winning 4-3 in a very close, tight game when I killed 2 elements in the last turn on a few more lucky rolls.

My last game was against Steve, who attacked with his Shang Chinese (I/13).  I used a smallish steep hill and smallish wood on two deployment zone corners; the road played no part in the game.  I never got my bows out of the wood on my side: he attacked with superior forces of Auxilia and Psiloi.  I had a fairly strong central position, but he controlled the other flank with his bows against my light horse. 

I was able to shave a spear off to hold back the bows, but my bows were suffering in the woods on my other flank.  I ended up killing off his three psiloi, while he whittled me down.  Eventually he was winning 3G-3 and I needed 2 PIPs to move anything.  I lasted another 2-3 turns, when he killed my fourth element and I wasn't able to return the favor, so he won 4G-3.

I learned some important points in these games, mostly about the interactions of bows in bad going.  Chao has a very small bad going force, only a single Psiloi, so the bows have to pull double duty in the woods and steep hills.  Playing against Neal, I realized my spear were an even match for him in the woods, since he couldn't shoot me in there and we were both +2 and 2" move.  Rich taught me that blades are still better than bows in the woods, with their +3, and my shooting didn't make up for this.  Steve reinforced the point by demonstrating Auxilia's superiority in bad going: they survived many turns without moving or recoiling from my shooting.  In short, Bows are good only against a few troop types in bad going, even in a defensive role: mounted, pike, and maybe psiloi if you can get a double shot off. 

There was a wide variety of Chinese armies there.  Besides the armies I played against, Steve also had Ming and Post Mongol Samurai; Jim could field Yuan, Khitan-Liao, and maybe one other option; and Rich also had Warring States (other).  I had all of the Warring States options except (other) as well as Mongol Conquest.  This seems to be a very heavily populated part of the world, w.r.t. locally owned DBA armies.

I also noticed several of the armies had Museum figures in them, and they were all painted very differently.  It was interesting to see the different color schemes, they made the figures almost unrecognizable in the different armies.

It was a fun theme this month.  The proposed theme for next month is Elephants: every army must have at least one.  Sounds good!

2010-08-13

DBA Army II/4: Warring States Chinese, Double Army

I've completed the elements necessary to field two Warring States Chinese armies at the same time, or a double Chao army.  It's been hot in the attic so I haven't gotten a chance to take pictures for a while.


The green army is II/4c: Chao, which has no options: 2xHCh (gen), 2x2LH, 4x4Sp, 3x4Cb, 1x2Ps.  I needed to finish the chariots, crossbows, and psiloi to field this army.

All of the figures are Museum Miniatures.  Overall I really enjoy working with these figures.  There is very little flash or other cleanup required.  The poses are limited, but I like the overall effect in this army.  The infantry has enough detail, but not too much, and lends itself to a clean simple color scheme.

I'm not quite as happy with the green army chariots as I am with the blue ones I painted a few months ago.  I mounted the umbrella too low on the general's chariot, and didn't paint the red quite as well.

For the cloth, I used a light base coat and mixed a wash from darker paint, gloss varnish, and water until it flowed well over the cloth.  A few highlights on top finished it off well.


The blue army started as II/4a: Qin, but I quickly decided I wanted to morph it into other Warring States armies.  The first morph was into II/4c: Chao, but along with the green army I can now morph into any of II/abcd with all options.  I'm missing the 3Bd and 3Cb elements for II/4e.
Here, I have 2xHCh (gen), 1x3Cv, 2x2LH, 4x4Wb (with halberds/dagger axes), 4x4Sp, 3x4Cb, 2x2Ps.
In this round of painting, I only needed to paint the 4x4Sp and 1x2LH elements.

I chose to model the warbands with halberds to differentiate them from the spearmen (shown here).  According to the DBM army lists, the same troops are categorized as warbands in the Qin army and spear in other armies, due to their different motivation and not different weapons: Qin soldiers were paid by the head.

The light horse is the only element I needed to match colors with an existing element.  It's not identical but they're close enough that it makes no difference.

With only a few elements of light horse, I don't mind that there's only one pose. With an entire army of light horse, I need either different poses or different colors to keep things from getting boring.

This is all the Chinese I need to paint for our planned BBDBA tournament at Fall-In; but it's fun, so I could forsee getting around to painting some more.  Maybe I'll build enough to morph into a double army other than Chao, or maybe into Han.