The Raft Lookout

A couple of things have recently caught my eye.

First, Campaign Game Miniatures have released two new 18mm napoleonic figure sets. The first is a party of soldiers with supplies, the other one is a Vivandière with a pack mule.

I’m especially happy about the second one – Vivandières played an important role in the French army and women in similar functions (official or unofficial) could be found in many other napoleonic armies. The models look very nice and clean. I will certainly get a set of each. Dermot has already announced that more stuff will come for the “camp and supplies” section of his range. As I’m mainly playing skirmish games, I can never have enough of such things, so I’m really looking forward to the new releases.

TooFatLardies have announced a new set of rules: What a Cowboy! The name already suggests that the game’s DNA is derived from What a Tanker!, a game I like very much (even though I’m not interested in tanks). If you follow the Lardies on social media, you will have seen some of their numerous test games. The rules will be out by the end of February. I will certainly get those, not only because I like the basic mechanisms, but also because I already have figures I can use, namely my Mexican Revolution collection.

Virago also has a long-time plan for a Wild West project (and some figures stashed away), so you can expect reports of shoot-outs in the near future.

My Spanish Civil War naval project has triggered an new interest in the Spanish Civil War in general. So my curiosity was roused when I read about a new boardgame being published.

Land and Freedom: The Spanish Revolution and Civil War looks very promising, especially since it is a semi-cooperative game where all the players work together against the fascists. This is a good idea because first, who wants to play the fascists, and second, instead of depicting the anti-nationalist side as a coherent block, it allows to show the difficult cooperation between the different factions. It is published by Blue Panther and will be out by the end of January.

My Gaming Year 2022

This was definitely the year of naval wargaming. If you add up all the naval wargames in my BGG statistic, they are at the top of the list with 18 gameplays.

In April, I suddenly had the urge to re-visit the 1/300 American Civil War ships I had prepared for a one-shot game years ago. Thanks to my 3D-printer, I added lots of new ships, mainly from East Coast Ironclads. At first I played my modified Galleys & Galleons rules, but from the second game on I started to tinker and by the fourth game, I was starting to create my own rules (I still logged them under Galleys & Gallons on BGG, because there is unfortunately no possibility to log games that are not in the database). I invited a couple of friends for playtesting (thanks to Sigur, Virago, Stephan and of course my wife K. for their feedback!) and, in the end, had something I was actually happy with. It needs some further development, but I’d really like to publish them in one way or another (probably as a low-cost pdf on wargamevault) this year.

Steamboats on the Mississippi.

However, the road into naval wargaming led me beyond the ACW and, after some reading, to the First Sino-Japanese War. I painted two fleets and K. and I started a campaign (which I’d like to finish this year). I then discovered that there were naval actions during the Spanish Civil War and promptly painted a Republican and a Nationalist fleet. From there, an interest in the mediterrean theatre during World War 2 developed, and I ordered even more ships, this time for the Italians and British. Virago, who has a long-time interest in naval aviation, offered to paint up some 1/600 aircraft, so I hope we can play a small campaign this year.

Ironclad action in the First Sino-Japanese War.

Next up on the list (actually in the first position if you don’t count naval wargames as one item) is a game my wife gave me for my birthday, namely Race for the Galaxy. This really is great fun and as you can see we played it a lot. This is also one of the rare games where I tend to win more often than not.

I also did a lot of role-playing this year. I started a Traveller campaign with my virtual group and had a lot of fun with world-building and running the games. I’m really happy about this group – it already existed before COVID and is an opportunity to spend time with friends living in other parts of Europe. And when I was a bit burned out DMing, Jan took over with a fabulous short Shadowrun adventure set in Germany.

De Bellis Napolenicis was another one of my rules-tinkering projects. At the beginning of the year, I started a 6mm napoleonics project and decided to use DBN for rules. I wasn’t completely happy with them and developed my own; however, this attempt at game design produced a decidedly mediocre result, so I abandoned it after a couple of play-tests.

Napoleonic action with 3D-printed 6mm figures.

Spirit Island is also a game I bought this year, mainly because my wife was interested. She also was the driving force behind playing it. I also like it, I think the theme and its implementation is great and it offers an interesting cooperative challenge.

Another recent newcomer is Undaunted: North Africa. I bought it just two weeks ago and we both like it very much, so this will see more plays next year.

The second scenario of Undaunted: North Africa.

At the beginnig of autumn, I was in a bit of a bad mood and behaved like a jerk, moaning that “no-one wants to play the games I want to play”. Keeping a statistic such as this is a useful tool to prove oneself wrong. It’s abundantely clear that I played a lot of games I like and that my friends are very indulgent – they even play-tested my not always exciting game ideas. And we had a lot of fun together, the highlights being the summer event racing game and my birthday game of Sharp Practice. So, sorry guys for being a jerk, I really enjoy all our games together and I hope that we will play many more!

My bad mood was partly a result of my working life, which was a mixed bag, with one huge exception: I started to teach at the Viennese University of Applied Arts at the department of Experimental Game Cultures. I started with a course on Innovations in Tabletop Gaming and I’m now running a course on game mechanics. This is hands down one of the best work experiences I’ve ever had – the students are curious, open and enthusiastic and the atmosphere at the department is incredibly welcoming. I really hope to be able to continue teaching there.

Modifying Malefiz in a game design session.

What is in store for 2023? I’m not really into making big plans, as I know that my interests can change at any moment. If pressed, I’d say that I’d like to publish something, either my ACW naval rules or the Star of Bravery campaign rules (perhaps even both). I’d also like to play a WW2 naval campaign set in the mediterranean, something that might get another motivational push when Sam Mustafa’s recently announced new naval rules come out. I also hope we’ll have another summer event – meeting a large number of good friends to have a day of gaming really is one of the highlights of my year. The Traveller campaign will also continue, at least until I run out of ideas, but then I’m sure someone else will take over as a GM. More Sharp Practice would be nice (I think I needed a bit of a break this year, but I start to miss it…). At the moment, I’m strangely enough again in the mood for some 6mm napoleonics, so I’ll try out Drums and Shakos Large Battles (and perhaps Blücher).

Oh, and I also want to post much more regularily on here, so I hope you will drop by occasionally. You might find a new post for a change!

It’s Been a While…

… since I last published something on here. I can’t say there’s a special reason, I just seemed to have lacked the mojo to write. But I really intend to reinvigorate the blog, especially now that I have left Twitter (you can find me on Mastodon, though, at tbrand@mastodon.wssmagazine.com).

I actually played a great variety of games this year. After my foray into 6mm napoleonics, which petered out because I couldn’t find rules I was happy with (this might have changed recently, though), I was bitten by the naval bug. I started printing, building and painting 1/600 ACW ships and developed my own rule-set, which according to playtesters is actually fun. I had quite a number of games with several people, the highlight being the Battle of Memphis when my mate Stephan visited from Sweden.

I also had the traditional birthday game, where I invited my mates Virago, Sigur and Martin for a large game of Sharp Practice. The scenario was based on the historical raid on Little Washington, N.C., in 1862. It was great fun and I finally had the opportunity to use the ship I built ages ago!

The big event and the real highlight, however, was our traditional summer gaming event. This time, our very own “Bernie Orclestone” Virago pulled all the stops and presented us with an assortment of fantastic bolides in the form of various 28mm chariots. Sigur also threw in his collection and we had a chaotic, wild and fun racing game! Sigur also wrote a great report on the Grand Prix of Monte Chaoso: https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2022/07/the-grand-prix-of-monte-chaoso/

In autumn, Sigur invited me to for a game with his impressive 30 Years War collection. We played the Battle of Herbsthausen:

I also branched out with the naval stuff. First I painted fleets for the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and started a campaign with K., then I became interested in the 20th and assembled fleets for the Spanish Civil War and for WW2.

So, a lot of very diverse projects, and it feels like this won’t change soon. At the moment, I have difficulties concentrating on one topic or period – Last week, I had a sudden urge to play ACW, so I invited Sigur for a game of Drums and Shakos Large Battles.

This is a napoleonic ruleset from the Ganesha Games stable which, with some modifications, works very well for the ACW. We both like it and it might be the answer to my search for rules to use with my 6mm napoleonic, so of course I got the urge to do something in this direction… At the same time, I want to continue with the naval stuff, as Virago is also very interested and has volunteered to paint 1/600 airplanes for a campaign set in the Mediterranean.

Of course I also played other games, but more on those in my end-of-the-year post. I really hope that I will be motivated to update the blog more often. Let’s keep fingers crossed!

I wish all of you Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you might celebrate! Enjoy the festivities!

3D-Printing an Austrian Village

For the last three months, I’ve been experimenting with my 6mm napoleonic project. I’ve played a number of games, first with DBN, then with an increasing number of modifications. More on that some other time.

When preparing the terrain, I realised that there were no 6mm buildings that would fit my requirements. As I did a bit of research on rural structures, I wanted my models to conform to the historical types. A couple of years ago, even before I got a 3D printer, I taught myself a bit of CAD, so I decided to try my hand at desigining 3D models. It turned out that it is not too complicated, as 6mm buildings don’t need that many details, and that I even enjoy it.

Austrian Grenzer moving into a village.

As others might be interested in those buildings, I’ve decided to put them up for sale on wargaming3d.com. So, for the princely sum of $4.50, you can purchase a set of stl files for 11 buildings: a large church, modeled after the Aspern church, a small church or chapel, a granary, modeled after the Essling granary, six rural houses, a traditional barn and a windmill. The windmill has no sails, as this would be too fiddly to print at this scale – I recommend using strips of thin cardboard.

The buildings are intended for 2mm to 6mm scales. For my 6mm games, I reduce them to 80% size, as I prefer them to have a smaller footprint. All my test prints have been with a resin printer (Anycubic Photon), I can’t say how they would turn out with a FDM printer, but I guess details will be lost.

They would fit from around 1700 up to 1945 for Austria and Bavaria.

I hope you like them and maybe even consider getting a pack for your own games from here: https://www.wargaming3d.com/product/2mm-6mm-austrian-village-buildings/