Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wargaming the Roman Army - Online Extras

Wargames Illustrated asked me to write a piece (which turned into a two-part series) on the Roman army from a wargaming perspective. This was what I considered one of those Holy Grails of tabletop gaming assignments - right up there with the Vikings and the First Crusade. 

The first part appears in issue #272, right in the midst of the biggest collection of Napoleonic articles I think I've ever seen assembled. I'm honored that my work was included in such a magnificent endeavor. 

Anyway - when I took a look at the Roman army, I went all the way back. There's few figures for the earliest warriors, but a fair number of worthy substitutes and - you guessed it - lots of opportunities for conversions. Here's a link to the Wargames Illustrated extra online content for some cool conversions by Matt Parkes (see picture on the right for a sneak peak at the even bigger sneak peak of Wargaming the Roman Army). 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

FOW Dogs & Devils

I recently purchased Battlefront's Dogs & Devils, which focuses on Anzio but gives a lot of info regarding the Italian campaigns post-Sicily to the march towards Rome. I mentioned Wargame Illustrated's coverage of the supplement not long ago and I can say that I think the book lives up to the sneak peak and additional material found in the magazine.

I have long wanted to build a unit based on the Herman Goring Division, and they make an appearance in Dogs & Devils, along with the US 3rd Infantry Divsion and the Allied Devil's Brigade (I believe James Garner appeared in a movie about them back in the 60s). They all look like interesting forces to put on the table.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The summer project blogs are in progress. In the meantime I thought I'd share some thoughts about some fun card and board games that don't take a long time to learn or play.

Loot is a great little card game where the players assume the role pirates attempting to gather up treasure ships.

Each player maintains a hand of cards that fall into the following categories: 

  • Numbered and colored pirate ships. Color indicates fleet affiliation and number indicates strength; I believe there is 5 or 6 fleet colors and strength runs from 1 to 6 - or maybe 7.

  • Captains. These are colored according to fleet affiliation. Each fleet only has one captain.

  • Merchant Ships. These have gold coins imprinted upon them, indicating value. I believe the lowest value is 2, and the greatest is probably 8 or 10. Seems like most fall in between 4 and 6

  • The Admiral. 


Players put merchant ships into play and attempt to claim them by playing the strongest fleet suits upon them. Captain cards trump, but a player may only introduce one that is affiliated with the pirate fleet they put into play on a particular ship. A player may never put more than one colored fleet against a particular merchant ship. The Admiral is kind of a wild trump card, but he is not all-powerful. 

I have fun whenever I get to play this game, and I highly recommend it for those looking for a good - and short - game that requires a little thought, but yet is not complicated. Four or five players can finish a game in about half an hour.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Upcoming Blogs

I've hit a few stumbles this month. Various writing projects have piled up and they have taken a lot of time and effort. That said, I've got some blog ideas that I've been working on in my head at least. 

One is an ambitious look or three at summer projects, both gaming and modeling. I'll also offer some thoughts on inspirations for role-playing games of different genres. Finally, I've got a few Wargames Illustrated pieces coming out this summer that I'll chat about.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nottingham and the Beginning of the English Civil War

Outside of the Commandery in Worcester, I wasn't looking for any particular sites related to the ECW theme. As it turns out, I kept stumbling across them. On the walkway up the sandstone hill on which Nottingham Castle rests, one can find a marker dedicated to King Charles' attempt to rally Royalist support (see picture to the right).

Dan F of Wargames Illustrated advised me that Nottingham was a Parliamentarian stronghold and that "approximately three men" joined Charles.

Set into the side of the sandstone hill is the pub Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which claims to be the oldest pub in all England. Nice sandwiches and beer - the staff was nice too. Maybe the three Royalist recruits had a pint there before embarking with the king.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Worcester and the End of the English Civil War

I like to visit historical sites. While I have never written anything on the English Civil War, I enjoy studying it. 

We visited the Commandery Museum in Worcester during a holiday trip to England a few years ago. The audio tour leads you through the last desperate hours of the Royalist cause as you walk through the medieval building (which began as a monastic hospital). I recommend spending an afternoon there if you are in the area.