Friday, December 21, 2012

Dad, Dwarves, and Disappointments

Lost somewhere in Moria?

Update: Hooray!  Dad's coming home today!  (22nd)

Sadly Gandalf the Grey and the brave band of dwarves never made it to Rohan Thursday.  Unfortunately on Wednesday (on his birthday no less), my Dad had to be rushed to the hospital after doing his best Hillary Clinton impersonation, and passing out while helping my Mom put on her socks (Is there a connection?).  After receiving a nasty bump to his forehead, being out for a few minutes, and having a low blood pressure, he still sprung up bound and determined to go to the Senior Center for his weekly cribbage game.

After getting checked out for a stroke, the doctors found that Atrial fibrillation was to blame (not Mom's socks or feet after all), and have manged so far to control his heartbeat with medication.  They've continued to monitor and everything seems OK now, but no word on if and when he can go home.  As he did suffer a cardiac arrest a number of years ago and had to be revived, I'm all for making sure Dad's OK.  I do fear (along with him) that he might get stuck in the hospital over the weekend and maybe Christmas if no doctors are around to clear him.

Sorry Dad, turning 73 sucks apparently...

Dad gave us all a good scare, but looks to be almost out of the woods.  You always hear stories about people losing loved ones around the holidays or birthdays, and I have no desire to join that club.  So I missed my Lord of the Rings game, but I still have my Dad.  Good trade in my book.

Really missing the game was mostly disappointing only due to the fact that we don't get to play Lord of the Rings very often at all.  After initiating the idea, we conveniently planned the battle close to Eric's birthday (on the 22nd) who is also a big LOTR/Tolkien fan.  Hopefully we can still play the planned scenario sometime in January after the holidays calm down.  We'll see.

Happy birthday buddy!

Not to totally disappoint and help end this post brighter note, Eric did pass on some pics of the battle to share.  They ended up playing the "Lords of Battle" scenario from the army books with 1200 points aside.  The table featured some old mountain terrain Eric made years ago for a long forgotten Warhammer campaign (We last used them in our Viking battles I think).  Without their shorter friends with axes, the forces of Rohan, etc. didn't fair too well against the Uruk-hai pikes and trolls.  Still everyone had a blast.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Horse, Hand, & Mountains

"Are you sure this is the right tunnel Gandalf?"

Far over Misty Mountains cold,
a cry for help from friendship old.
We must away, ere break of day,
tell Rohan, we're on our way!

Our axes sharp, our armor strong,
The dwarves no more, shall suffer wrong.
We must away! We must away!
With their lives, the Uruk-hai will pay!

This Thursday we'll be fighting a Lord of the Rings battle for my friend Eric's birthday, and he has kindly written a scenario for the occasion. Set in the mountains, the battle will pit the forces of Rohan and Erebor (Eric and I) versus the forces of Isengard (Adam and Alex) with each of us having 600 points to spend on our armies.

The scenario: This is a story of Éomer looking for clues about the White Hand. Grimma has spoken some thoughts foolishly in front of the horselords and now Éomer suspects sorcery and rides south through the White Mountains to investigate the coming and goings of supplies to Isengard. After seeing the slain and discovering the fruits of treachery, Éomer and his best Captain Éogar have turned to race back to Edoras with to deliver this foul news.

The White Hand has sent "emissaries" to meet him at the edge of the mountains and prevent this from happening. Eomer is to NOT make it home.

"No birthday cake for Éomer!"

Luckily for Éomer and Éogar, a Grey Friend has helped direct some traveling Beards to come and bring the aid of their Axes. And not a minute too soon   ~ puffs of smoke...~

Deployment: Rohan sets up first 12" along the short edge. The White Hand then sets up anywhere within 36" of the side.

A Hidden Friend:  On turn two, Gandalf & Company are organized into two forces and enter the board via three possible secret tunnels of the White Mountains. Although Saruman is just as wise as Gandalf and knows of the tunnels, he doesn't know which ones. The forces will roll randomly which tunnel they come out of.

Initial Priority:  Both Players roll D6. The player with the highest result has priority in the first turn. 

The price of failure: spend your birthday with Lurtz!

Objectives:  If Éomer, Captain Éogar or either Rohan Banners make it off the opposite board edge the White hand has lost. Both sides know the consequence of failure and therefore pass all broken tests.

Rulebook:  We're sticking with the old blue LOTR book for this one.

The map below gives a rough estimate of the planned board setup.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Storyline

Prof. Tolkien pondering replacing the Ring with a walkie-talkie.

Sunday night, a couple friends and I will be taking in the new Hobbit movie in HFR-3D at some highfalutin ShowPlace ICON theatre.  As the anticipation rises each day, I can't help but think back to when I first watched the animated version as a kid.  With the "The Greatest Adventure" still humming through my head, I wonder how many times Gandalf really does say "Behold!" in that movie.  My thoughts then wander to when I read the book for the first time and truly being introduced to Tolkien's Middle Earth.

 "Behold this!  Behold that!"

That simple world and light-hearted adventure were then shattered when a friend introduced me something called "The Lord of the Rings."  Instantly confused by all these rings and which one was Sauron or Saruman and in what tower.  The silly dwarves and hobbit were now long gone and replaced by a grim new world where everything good and wonderful seem to have been destroyed or lost ages ago.  But I was in Junior High by then and could take things turning darker and grimmer.  My childhood was safe.

 Soul mates?

A nerd childhood can be a fragile thing.  Upset or completely ruined by switching guns for walkie-talkies, making Greedo fire first, giving Optimus Prime lips, making the Baroness Cobra Commander's sister and Duke's fiance, Midi-chlorian counts, etc. etc.  Apparently George Lucas was not the first one to perpetuate such evils on the hearts and minds of adoring fans.  Which brings me to this interesting little article I wanted to share with you today (below) discussing J.R.R. Tolkien going back and changing The Hobbit to fit in with The Lord of the Rings storyline better.  I just wonder if the Professor Tolkien received any letters back in 1951 (when the 2nd Edition was published I believe) crying "You ruined my childhood!"  :-)

For more Hobbit goodness, you could always check out some of my previous posts:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hump Day Break - Thin Your Paints!

This video might have made a few rounds on the Internet already, but I thought it would make a fun little break to help chase away those mid-week blues.  :-)

Warning:  You might want to turn down the volume a bit before pressing play.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Cold Snow & Hot Cav!

The view out my back window this morning.

Reading Stefan's post over at Monty's Caravan this morning inspired me to document the over 16 inches (40.64 cm) of snow we received over the weekend.  A lite dusting of 1-2 inches Friday night followed by an all day affair Sunday left the once brown landscape totally covered with white.  I love the look of sparkling unbroken drifts of snow...  which reminds me that I still have to set the bear traps to keep the neighborhood kids from tramping up my lovely view!

Typical morning in Minnesota...  perpetuating the myth.

After excavating the truck three times yesterday, it was nice to see that it was still visible this morning.  The truck bed was completely full though, and it always feels weird to shovel that out.  Luckily I don't really have anywhere to go today other than a quick jaunt to the Post Office.  Now that I've chilled things off a bit, especially my readers from more fairer climates, it's time to heat things up a bit...

Sorry Turks...  Winged Hussars FTW!!

I make no secret of my love for cavalry on this blog, and Polish Winged Hussars are by far one of my favorites from history.  That being said, Anne from Anne's Attic was kind enough to pass along the following inspirational video to me today (Thanks again!).  Like my previous goosebump inducing piece of cinema  Cavalry Charges - Nerdgasm!!!! these type of vids make me want to start rolling the dice, crack out the paints, or just run around the front room with a broom between my legs (No hobby horse, sorry.  :-/ )


"But sir, they've got frickin wings!!"

This also reminds me that Warlord Games recently added Polish Winged Hussars to their Pike & Shotte range (More preview pics here).  I'd love to hear any feedback if anyone has already picked up this boxed set.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

For lovers of Military Art

Just came across ULTIMOS CUADROS, a marvelous blog dedicated to the renowned Spanish artist Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau (His personal page can be found here).  Although I recognize some of the paintings (some I have used for my header pictures), I admit I was not otherwise familiar with this very talented artist.  So I am thankful to Vincent (Captain LOL) at Figurine Passion for passing this along on his blog.  As a lover of cavalry his heavily military equestrian themed art makes them an instant hit with me.  These are just a small sample of a wonderful collection of military art.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Warhammer: Total War?

Perhaps to some, video games are the bane of miniature wargaming.  A new shiny release of Halo XXVII or something will no doubt ensure a hobby project is pushed back for another two weeks at least, and some online games go as far as swallowing the souls of the most promising mini painters whole never to touch paint or brush again.

I don't know if I'm lucky or not to no longer have roommates that make me spent countless hours playing EA Sports' NHL13, Madden whatever, or the latest and greatest first person shooter.  I don't own a Xbox or anything (not that I wouldn't mind having one), and I would be embarrassed to admit the date of the last game I bought for the 'ole computer.

Sir, which special unit comes with this box?

Despite this, one series of games I've always been a fan of is the Total War series from SEGA, buying some of the earlier titles and then living vicariously through my friend Chris as he explained how awesome the latest edition (like Napoleon: Total War) is.  The last Total War I bought was the Viking one, I think.  I'll probably break down at some point and buy the Napoleon edition off of eBay or something as it is probably my favorite historical period.  Plus the chance to see a little CGI Blucher charge across the screen is too much to pass up.  :-)

I guess the other version of Total War that would get me excited would be a Warhammer one (I know there's unofficial mods out there).  Although 8th Edition is not currently my favorite game to play and Games Workshop's prices have ensured I'll probably never collect a new army, I still love the Warhammer World and fluff.  The Empire, Kislev, and Vampire Counts armies I've collected are still full of great minis, and I would welcome a chance to command them across my computer screen.  Well, that all took one more step towards reality with this news from yesterday.

SEGA and Creative Assembly Announce Partnership with Games Workshop
to Create Warhammer Games

SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON – 11AM GMT, December 6, 2012 – SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. today announced that Creative Assembly™, award-winning creator of the Total War™ series, and SEGA® Group have entered into a multi-title licensing deal with Games Workshop® to create videogames based in the Warhammer® universe of fantasy battles.

A new high-calibre development team has been set up at Creative Assembly’s UK studio to work alongside the existing Total War, Alien™ IP and Mobile teams on the first Warhammer title in the deal, scheduled to launch from beyond 2013.

“With this year being our 25th anniversary”, said Tim Heaton, Studio Director at Creative Assembly, “it seems fitting for us to embark on such a dream project with such a well-established partner. The incredibly rich and detailed Warhammer world is something we grew up with, and has left an indelible imprint on us as both designers and gamers.”

“We’ll be doing the Warhammer universe justice in a way that has never been attempted before. We’re bringing those 25 years of experience and expertise in extremely high-scoring games to bear, delivering a Warhammer experience that videogamers will absolutely love.”

“We have enormous respect for SEGA and Creative Assembly and have felt for a long time that the combination of the enormously rich setting of the Warhammer world, and their stunning development talent is a match with huge potential,” said Jon Gillard, Games Workshop’s Head of Licensing. “Now that we’ve managed to bring these two giants of gaming together it is safe to say that some truly amazing products are going to be unleashed as a result. We are excited at the possibilities, and are enthusiastically working with the team at Creative Assembly already.”

This first Warhammer game joins the eagerly-awaited Total War™: Rome II and the untitled Alien IP as one of five projects currently in production at Creative Assembly, now one of the largest developers in Europe.

Mainly this is just a license to produce "Warhammer" games, so who knows what kind of games they will produce.  (The Warhammer 40k license is still held by THQ.)  Warhammer certainly has not had the same level of success as its brother game "40k" has in video game realm.  Maybe this is the step that changes all that.

Perhaps many of you like me are not the biggest video game fans, but I throw this up especially for my Warhammer buddies who are.  Anyone who knows more about this please share.  Also, if anyone else has played Napoleon: Total War, I love to hear more feedback on that game as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"It's a Major Award. I won it!"

"Fra-gee-lay.  It must be Italian!"

When I first started this blog it was at the tail end of the Stylish Blogger Award making its rounds across the gaming blogosphere.  Despite being nominated back then for that award, I never really accepted the honor since I felt I wasn't around long enough to deserve any such recognition.  My blog is almost a year and a half old now, and although my second year of blogdom has not met my personal goals and standards being a bit spotty this year with life getting in the way, I hope that I've at least contributed something enjoyable and worthwhile back to a community that has inspired me and my hobby many times.

The genesis of this blog started with simple Google image searches.  In turn, I started to bookmark a few inspirational blogs that I had discovered and started to dream about possibly doing the same someday.  Although this blog will always be for my personal motivation first and foremost, I also wanted to create a site that was just as inspirational and enjoyable for others to return to time and time again, just like those first blogs I discovered long ago.  I'm not where I want to be with this blog yet, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit it feels good to be recognized even in a small way by some of my fellow bloggers.

In the same lighthearted manner I approach everything on this blog, I humbly thank my fellow bloggers (those I know about anyway) who nominated Der Feldmarschall for the Liebster Blog Award (Favorite Blog). Each of their sites are worthy nominees themselves, and I heartily encourage you to visit their wonderful blogs if you don't already:

Stefan at  Monty's Caravan, who until recently focused mainly on 20mm WWII, but has boldly marched on into the realms of 28mm Napoleonics (His British are top notch) as well as 28mm WWII for Bolt Action.  Great terrain and battle reports.  A fellow hockey fan, and I think I spotted some Warhammer armies in his display cabinet.  :-)

Colonel Scipio at Colonel Scipio's Palladain Guard,  who along with his excellent Mordian Imperial Guard Army has written ton of his own background fluff, and also games in WWII, Russo-Japanese War, Mordern Warfare, and an alternate South America history setting just to name a few.

Monty at Twin Cities Gamer, who is a fellow Minnesotan and has a wonderfully written and humorous blog featuring his very well painted yet very small (15mm) armies for Field of Glory, Impetus, and Maurice.  Great battle reports and his "Life's Lessons" are always enjoyable reading.

Burkhard at DHC Wargames Blog, is a kindred spirit of mine when it comes to Napoleonics.  His growing collection of French, British, and Prussian miniatures are quite inspiring, and his friendly blog covers a number of periods/games from Dark Ages/SAGA, WWII, Modern, Ancients, ACW, etc. etc.

Basking in the pure joy of it all!

The wargaming blogosphere is truly a joy to be part of and a certainly a great community that makes the world feel so much smaller.  Some might choose to belittle and poo poo such chainletteresque Internet blogger awards, but in their true spirit they exemplify what make our blogging community great:  the desire to share and support, the ability to inspire and teach, and therefore allow others to enjoy our hobby at a higher level than previously imagined.

Like many others, my list of nominations could include most of the sites found in my blog lists in the left hand margin, and it is hard to narrow down the choice to just five.  Nevertheless, the following are five enjoyable and inspirational sites I certainly would recommend any miniature wargamer to visit.

 and the award goes to...

Dean at WAB Corner has grown from his Warhammer Ancient Battles beginnings to expand into a number of periods from Ancients all the way to WWII.  A very talented and VERY prolific painter, Dean's site is certainly one of those inspirational blogs I was referencing with the Google image search story.  Just do a search on 'Perry French" and see what I mean.  His WIP posts are great for learning a trick or two as well.  Certainly one of the Internet "nice guys" that I'd love to link up with at a convention some day.

Von Peter Himself and his Orders of the Day, is another very enjoyable and inspirational blog penned by the aforementioned von Peter.  Always entertaining and humorously well written.  Sadly his current site pales in comparison to the greatness that was his former Apple/iWeb based site, but time heals all wounds.  While he shares my love for Napoleonics and Prussians, his site features a great variety of armies and periods.  Another genuinely nice chap that I'd love have live down the road from me, but sadly he is at the other end of the world where he periodically rubs elbows with the likes of the the Perry Brothers in his lovely battle reports.

Robert at Serrez les Rangs! (one of his many blogs) who also runs the very friendly and supportive Napoleonic gaming forum La BRICOLE.  His West Tokyo Wargamers site also chronicles his local groups efforts on the gaming table.  Lacking local interest here in 28mm historicals/Napoleonics, his site have been a true inspiration and guidance for me with his "build it and they will come" philosophy.  Robert shares my love for Seven Years War as well.  I really have to admit he has won my gamer's heart ever since reading his post here.  Yet another like minded Naopleonic gamer/blogger that I look forward to getting to know and sharing my hobby with across the Interwebs.

Mike's MiniStories is another very enjoyable blog by a very likable chap that like mine has sadly been dormant at times this year.  Although his site offers a number of different periods and topics, his beautifully painted American Civil War Confederate Army is primarily responsible for me going on an ACW spending spree on eBay earlier this year.  Other than being a very talented painter, Mike's battle reports are top notch with great terrain to boot!

Paul at Napoleonics in Miniature mostly features those wee little 15mm guys which are too small for me, but what he does with them is a wonder to behold.  He also features his brother David's stuff from time to time.  Fantastic looking armies and friendly supporter of the Napoleonic blogging community, I hope to continue to take inspiration for my 28mm projects from Paul for a long time to come!

An honorary shout out goes to David at Sole Member of the Napoleonic Connoisseur's Club.  His site has not been active since July, but has beautiful armies and awesome looking battle reports to enjoy nonetheless.  Although it seems he is no longer the sole member of his group in Sweden, he is a kindred spirit to me for forging ahead into Napoleonics while only having mostly Warhammer players as friends.

Thanks again for all the support that has been given to my blog, and be sure to stop by all the fantastic blogs mentioned above.  :-)

Bonus video!  (A Christmas Story - Major Award clip)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Recent Additions

Reading without proper lighting is bad... a wizard should know better!

Wargaming and acquiring a small library of books usually go hand in hand.  At times it seems we collect just as many rulebooks, uniform guides, volumes of military history, magazines, and other ancient tomes than we have miniatures to paint.

Although I have been mostly thinning out the personal library this year on my eBay store, there still the occasional addition to get excited about and share on the blog.  The first is a classic from Charles S. Grant that many veteran gamers may recognize:  Scenarios for Wargames.  (An excellent overview can be found here, and another nice blog write-up here.)

Other than shipping from the UK, I was able to get this wargaming classic for a nice price and as a bonus it was a rare hardcover edition avoiding the typical thick and very stiff paperback spine.  Yeah, the production quality is very simple compared to today's standards, but it still gets the job done nicely.

I'm pretty excited to adapt as many of the 52 scenarios as possible for future Black Powder games, but at the very least we shouldn't want for ideas.  If anyone else has already done the same, please share your results.  If you have already posted them on your blog, kindly throw me the link(s) below, thanks!  :-)

The Life and Campaigns of Field Marshal Prince Blucher is another hard to find book (or very expensive when found) that I've added in recent months.  I managed to be the only bid on eBay, so once again with shipping from the UK it came out to about the regular price of a new hardcover book.

Written by Blucher's famous Chief of Staff General Count Gneisenau and translated by J. E. Marston, the book was originally published in 1815 and last available back in 1996.  I still am surprised how hard this book was for me to find, and that it is currently out of print.  It will be nice to read some pro-Prussian propaganda while I work on my army to somewhat counter all the French and Anglophile literature out there.  :-)

I've only just started reading, so I'll write up a proper review when I'm done.  Until then, I'd love to hear from anyone who has enjoyed this book.  So far I get the impression that the writer is quite fond of the old Field Marshal.  :-)  (Free e-book available here.)

Future Prospects:

Warlord Games is set to release the first of their Napoleonic supplements for Black Powder in mid-December.  I'm not planning on ever playing the Peninsular Campaign, but I am very curious to see the latest handy work from Warlord.  Apparently, the plan is to do a total of three volumes covering the Napoleonic Wars.  The second will cover the Waterloo Campaign, and the third is everything else.

Maybe the plan will change, but for now I'm not too excited about the vast bulk of the Napoleonic Wars and the various allies and antagonists squeezed into one volume, while two weeks in June 1815 and a side-show Spanish theater (compared to the Austrian 1809 and Russian 1812 campaigns for example) each get their own book.  If the first two volumes are titled Albion Triumphant, I would not be surprised if the third is called:  Everyone else, not so much.

Switching gears a bit, Forge World is set to release a new version of its very first volume of Imperial Armour.  I bought the first edition back in the day, and I welcome not only a update to the old stuff, but a book that includes all the new tanks, etc. as well.  Warhammer 40k is not my main game and not a big part of my library, but I'll definitely be picking this volume up in the next year.

Thanks for stopping by!