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Showing posts from December, 2020

Happy New Year from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!

  A reprise of our Christmas Week game at the end of Turn Seven when it became crystal clear that The Young Master was going to with this battle too.   H appy 2021 everyone!  Here's to more toy soldiering during the next 12 months in whatever form that might take.   In the Grand Duchy, we'll continue plugging away with adding to our mid-18th century armies and playing the occasional game.  Since Young Paul seems to have been bitten firmly by the bug, the incentive is stronger than it has been for several years to set up scenery on the table and unpack the figures for games more often than has been the case in recent years. Besides that, I have no lofty new aims,or goals for my hobby.  As I mentioned when we discussed our plans for the coming year in a breakout room session during the December 19th meeting of the Virtual Wargaming Club , I plan on more of the same as and when time and life permit.  It's a very comfortable mental space to occupy  I must admit.  As much as I a

Our Christmas Game: Some After Action Musings. . .

My gun opens fire during Turn Four.  And misses!  A 1/56th (or 1/60th, or 30mm) harbinger of how most of the rest of the game went for General von Drosselmeyer and his hapless Stollenians.   T hinking about our Christmas Week game just concluded and talking it over with The Young Master, there are a few additional thoughts to share.  In no particular order, these include:    The Forces The Army of the Electorate of Zichenau (General Phillipe de Latte -- Young Master Paul) Flickenhoffer Fusiliers Ernestine Sachsen Regiment Kurmainz Grenadiers Zichenauer Garde Croats  Von Trumbach Dragoons Electoral Artillery    Losses Casualties = 33   The Stollenian Army (General von Drosselmeyer -- aka Bad Dad) Zeller-Schwartzekatze Militia Battalion O'Malley's Irish Grenzers Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers 1st Garrison Battalion Hanseatic Regiment Bosniak Squadron Corps of Jaegers Captain Merczerski's Half Battery   Losses Casualties = 58 Prisoners Taken by Enemy = 2 Equi

Our Christmas Game Concluded: A Sad End for Ol' Dad. . .

The conclusion of our Guilford Courthouse refight quickly went from bad to worse during the hour or so we played after lunch earlier this afternoon.  My gun crew promptly ran away after firing a final ineffective shot into the approaching Flickenhoffer Fusiliers of young General de Latte leaving theeir gun to be captured.  Their mounted officer suffered a less pleasant fate.   On my right flank during Turn Nine, The Young General's company of Croats basically wiped out my squadron of Bosniaks.  Clearly, my numerous six-sided dice do not like me.  I don't think I made a single saving throw during the final two turns of our game as General de Latte meted out gleeful punishment across the battlefield.  He takes real pleasure in my crummy saving throw rolls.   Meanwhile on my left flank, the Irish Grenzers rout after retiring shaken at the end of Turn Seven and sitting out Turn Eight.  There ought to be a law.   The dastardly General de Latte gnashes his teeth, twirls his mustache,

Our Christmas Game: Turns Six and Seven. . .

  The Young Master, aka General de Latte, scrutinizes the front lines of the respective armies as an intense firefight is about to begin in Turn Six. At the start of Turn Seven, General de Latte declared charges for the two infantry units in his front line, which had already managed to inflict considerable damage on my two front line units opposite during Turn Six. A rather diabolical portrait of General de Latte during Turn Seven.  He asked what the term 'cad and bounder' meant earlier today, in relation to de Latte's character, and I had to attempt an explanation of men who toy with women's affections.  We have reached the handfuls of dice stage of the game!  During Turn Six, General de Latte's company of Croats came within range of my squadron of Bosniaks on the right flank and managed to inflict two casualties after my saving throws. By the end of Turn Seven, my Irish Grenzers had taken considerable casualties and failed a morale test, falling back shaken and in

Our Christmas Game in Progress. . .

  By the start of Turn Six, The Young Master, aka General Phillipe de Latte, is moving his squadron of dragoons toward his left flank, presumably to engage General von Drosselmeyer's Bosniaken in the distance.   W e began our Boxing Day +1 game just before half past one this afternoon.  This time, Young Master Paul wanted the to play the role of the invading Zichenauers, commanded by that most notorious cad and bounder, General Phillipe de Latte.  His small army (mostly A and B class units) has entered the unwitting Grand Duchy of Stollen and is moving swiftly northward to engage a larger, but generally poor quality enemy army (mostly C and D class units) commanded by the timid General von Drosselmeyer.   The Young Master asked for a break after five turns and a bit of six, so we'll return tomorrow afternoon to see how things shape up.  He suggested we play through ten turns altogether, assuming one side or the other does not dissolve in the mean time due to poor morale rolls,

Happy Feast of Stephen!!!

  By Christmas Morning 2020 (yesterday), it was clear that Santa Claus/Father Christmas and the reindeer had indeed made a quick stop at our house sometime in the night.  Now, call me superstitious, but I strongly suspect that ol' Saint Nick is anxious about stepping on the scale today.   A lovely, relaxed Christmas Day yesterday here The Grand Duchy of Stollen all things considered.  A fire on the hearth, quiet German carols in the background along with other festive music throughout the day, far too much good food to enjoy, delightful company of The Grand Duchess and Young Master, Christmas crackers and charades, and so forth.   And of course a few gifts.  Highlights include some Fife& Drum Hessian musketeers and grenadiers given to me by The Young Master, and (Surprise, surprise!) Minden Prussian musketeers given to The Young Master by yours truly.  A toy soldier Christmas indeed.  It reminds me of the time that my sister and I each gave the other a copy of the album Parall

'Tis Christmas Eve in the Grand Duchy. . .

An old seasonal favorite of mine.  You don't see magical Father Christmases like this anymore sadly.   T he ground is white with fresh snow east of the sun and west of the moon in the far off Grand Duchy of Stollen. Billowing, silvery drifts are piled throughout the country. The rivers and lakes are frozen solid. The woods are still but for the distant jingle of sleigh bells in the bracing air. The sky is slate grey, and heavy coal smoke hangs over the villages and towns. It is Christmas Eve here in the Grand Duchy, somewhere very near to Frederick’s Prussia, sometime during the mid-18th century.  Citizens of Krankenstadt bustle to and fro through snow-covered streets of the small capital city of the Grand Duchy, running last minute errands before the Christmas festival begins in earnest. The red brick North German Gothic storefronts feature special Christmas items and treats like the marzipan for which the city is known, and the happy faces of children peek in through the frost

Der Stollen 2020 Ist Da!!!

Freshly cooled from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar. . .  The 2020 stollen is here! T he Grand Duchess Sonja pulled out all the stops last night and baked one of her authentic Dresdner Stollens.  Once cooled and dusted with the powdered vanilla sugar, we joined each other by the fireside about 10:30pm with some coffee and heated gluehwein to enjoy a couple of small pieces.  Date-filled, buttery, crusty, and it just melts in your mouth.  The Young Master will enjoy some with his breakfast when I wake him in a little while.  And then the rest is mine, mine, mine!  All mine! (Diabolical laughter).   Sorry.  I got a bit carried away there.  I'll be better directly. Long-time visitors might recall that the name for my fictitious campaign setting came to me in a flash one Saturday afternoon way back in early December 2005, possibly on or around Leuthen Day on the 5th, as the Grand Duchess baked a stollen for her German students.  Classes had ended for the semester, Finals Week wa

Our Boxing Day Scenario. . .

  I've always wanted to try The Battle of Guilford Courthouse.  For almost 40 years in fact.  It looks like now is the time!   P lugging away during the evenings here in Stollen Centrale with the last nine of an eventual 42 Minden Austrian dragoons.  The basic horse tack has been painted and highlighted now.  Today, I'll finish the hooves on the horses and make a few touch-ups before turning my attention to the saddle cloths, valises, and the men themselves although these already have their basic colors blocked in.  Of these, more anon. But otherwise, I've got our Boxing Day game to plan and set up.  The Young Master has been clamoring for a larger game, so I think something based on Guilford Courthouse should do the trick with the addition of a few more buildings.  He really likes Ol' Dad's scratch-built buildings it seems.  Paul is also eager to see how the new hot wire styrofoam cutter works since I've got to cut out a few more hills to go under my Hotz Mats

Horse Grenadiers Are Underway. . .

  The company (or is it troop?) of horse grenadiers, plus colonel and trumpeter for those recently glossed 36 Minden Austrian dragoons.   B usy days here in The Grand Duchy of Stollen, with the end of online classes for the semester/term yesterday, but I've managed to snatch an hour or so the last several evenings for some time at the painting table.  Still not much to look at, but they're not dsipleasing at this early stage in the painting game.   The basic horse coats are finished except for the trumpeter's grey, which needs so additional attention this evening.  Right now, The Young Master and I are headed out into the dark, rainy day to run his Christmas errand, selecting a gift for his mother The Grand Duchess.   I hope for some time back in the painting chair this evening post-Christmas tree decoration, dinner, and bedtime reading with The Young Master.  We are working our way through the first Harry Potter story at the moment, which is much better than I expected.  Y

It's Leuthen Day 2020!

  The 3rd Prussians attack Leuthen by G. Dorn.   A dark, chilly December Saturday here at The Grand Duchy of Stollen.  And after joining in a meeting of the Virtual Wargaming Club late Saturday morning, I plan on retiring to the painting table to undercoat the last nine Minden Austrian dragoons, which are part of that massive cavalry regiment I've worked on since last May.   On the continuing rules and gaming front, The Young Master and I plan to playtest some charge to close combat rules tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon too.  We're planning our next proper game for Boxing Day on December 26th. I also plan to build a village church with a few surprises in store based an article by Charles Grant in an early Wargamer's Annual from back in 2011 or 2012.  And, best of all, The Young Master has another belt test just before Christmas in his ongoing Tae Kwon Do sojourn, when he will very likely move into the upper echelons with, I believe, a purple belt.  From that point forward, he w

Wargamer's Newsletter PDFs!!!

  Wargaming greats of the past, the late Donald Featherstone and Peter GIlder at play sometime during the early (?) 1960s.   T ooling around the web between tasks this afternoon, and what do I turn up in a random search for images of the late Donald Featherstone?  Many, many links to PDFs of the old Wargamer's Newsletter archived online by a like-minded hobbyist!  Looks like I have found my reading for the approaching Christmas period.  Fix a mug of something warm, settle into your favorite chair, and click here to begin the journey with me . -- Stokes