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Happy Easter from the Grand Duchy of Stollen!



Still limping along here in the Grand Duchy although real life has managed to elbow it's way to the head of the queue these last few months, getting in the way of accomplishing much over at the painting table since the big dusting and clean-up a couple of months back.  But, the 28mm Eureka Saxon Saxon cuirassiers are waiting very patiently in their clear acrylic box on the table for the magical time that I am able to return to them in good conscience.

In truth, I have a major review coming up at some point in the early Autumn -- the precise date has yet to be determined -- and have (too) many irons in the fire at the moment as a result.  I will be the first to admit that it's nice to feel needed, but there ought to be/are limits.  In the meantime, I have been updating the ol' portfolio of materials and brainstorming the as-yet-unwritten review of my approach and activities since the last one was drafted.

My now emeritus step-father observed to me a year of two ago that professional progress and recognition are nice, but that can mean you suddenly find yourself a lot busier as colleagues and various other commitments vie for time that was once your own.  Or, to put a more colloquial spin on it, you are suddenly on peoples' radar screens when it comes to various kinds of collaborative projects, or committees of one kind or another over and above teaching responsibilities.

As I have written in previous posts, in previous years, there are many wargamers who are able to use their painting as way to reduce the stress of the day and help themselves relax.  Yours truly, on the other hand, needs a relatively clear mind to sit down to a productive and enjoyable session at the painting table during evenings and weekends.  

If I am preoccupied by something, or thinking ahead to an approaching talk or other due date, it tends to push all else to the side.  All of which can mean that I am simply too worn out mentally speaking to contemplate picking up the paintbrush in the evenings by the time 8:30 or 9pm roll around (once the Young Master is in bed and still for the night).  That's not a complaint, you understand, merely how it is at certain points.

All of this is really a long-winded way of saying that I should learn to say "No" more effectively -- something the Grand Duchess pointed out to me while were out running Saturday errands together earlier this afternoon -- in order to retain something akin to a more balanced life that permits more free time unfettered by the concerns of the day.  My goodness, if that sentence isn't a mouthful!



But let's turn now to the next point of this long overdue post here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen, the double-edged sword of the wargaming hobby.  What am I talking about?  Of course, I mean when you finally have more painted figures than your table can support.  We aren't talking about actual load -bearing structures here but rather having more figures and terrain than can realistically fit onto the table at one time.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that there are quite a few in the hobby who have amassed vast armies of figures from one period or another (those lucky so and so's), and I am not in that league by any stretch of the imagination (there's that word again).  But a quick glance at the large plastic tubs in the large closet when I store my painted figures would nevertheless suggest that my own forces are now large enough to present something of a conundrum.  Two really.

One, there is really (almost) too much for the usually 6'x10' table, when it is set up, if scenery and terrain are added to mix.  Sure, it looks great, but maneuvering the various units suddenly becomes more challenging.  And maybe that is the point as suggested by Henry Hyde way back in his special Battlegames tabletop teaser issue from about around 2009?  Still, it presents a vexing question.  Do I go longer, or set up parallel back tables on either side as some have done?  Or reject everything and start over again with 6mm or even Kriegspiel blocks?  

Fear not!  That is a rhetorical, tongue-in-cheek question.  We're too far along with the 30mm Grand Duchy of Stollen Project, which will celebrate 20 years come December 2025, to change oars now.  But once the Young Master leaves home for university in a little over four years, then perhaps a larger table (or tables) might be in order?  

That is, of course, putting the cart before the horse, but a guy can dream.  Still lots to paint in the meantime, and I am am hoping to scale back a bit on the professional commitments if all goes well with this big review over the next year or so given the glacial rate at which these things seem to move after materials have been submitted.



Which brings us to the ongoing tinkering with my A Tangled Mass rule set.  A week or so ago, I climbed into bed late one evening, reached for one of the small spiral-bound notebooks that lives on my side of the bed, and jotted down quick notes on what struck me as the most essential points of said "suggestions" for tabletop battles with toy soldiers.  

The result was, wonderfully, and after several months of not glancing through my notes, slightly less than two pages of information that can be committed to memory in a way similar to early Featherstone and (later) Asquith rules.  The trick is to avoid making things overly complex as others have noted for many years already.  Make peace with the notion of addressing anomalies or situations not specifically accounted for within the rules by a toss of the venerable D6, should the occasion arise, and move forward with the game.  

We're getting very close to that point I think after an awful lot of thinking, tinkering, and over complication of things dring the last five or six years.  In my slowly emerging game, the main driver is morale checks and related unit reactions.  That is what I keep coming back to again and again.  Contact with the enemy, morale check, reaction, and how that alters one's original plans/orders.  But of that, more anon.



Ok, with all of that prevarication over and done with for the time being, I thank you for reading if you come this far along and bid a Happy Easter 2024 to those who observe along with a wish for continued happy toy soldiering to everyone in whatever form that might take!

-- Stokes


Andy McMaster said…
Happy Easter!

I too have been pondering the size of armies and my available gaming space and opportunities to play. My 28mm Imagination armies are getting a little unwieldy and until I can evict one of the kids I don't have the space for more than a 4x4 or have to wait until one of the big gaming weekends that happen once or twice a year. So I've been recreating some of it in 6mm. And I hope by next May to have my 28mm armies more or less complete. And this will also involve offloading some of those little contingents I planned to add (like my Hanovarians...) as it is just too much... And I want to work on other projects so the ImagiNations have to come to a conclusion. Soon.
tradgardmastare said…
Happy Easter!
My 1790 imaginations forces are growing too big already for the dining room table l game on . I have enjoyed the large units being raised , which incidentally take up less space on the battlefield since I went over to 40mm square bases holding six figures. That frontage and depth is far more pleasing to the eye. Nevertheless l will plough on and raise more.
Duke of Baylen said…
May I wish you and yours, kith and kin, and your readers Happy Easter.

I recognise the questions of table space and storage space. With the table the tension comes from wanting to get out everything one's completed at the same time but regiments can be left in the box until the next encounter.

Many people look at smaller scales primarily because of table space. I look first at the room on the figure to convey the detail of uniform I like and find 28mm the look I want - so I am not tempted to go smaller.

A Happy Easter to you and yours!

All the best,

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, gentlemen! I am off to pour another mug of coffee, greet my wife, and see if the Easter Bunny has left anything sweet and bad of for the teeth.

Kind Regards,

Bloggerator said…
Simple solution; just do it all again in a different period.

Anonymous said…
well if too many figures are a problem, you can sell me a unit or to hire some Stollen mercenaries. I do understand the issue of painting with a clear mind. Since retiring, I thought I would be able to spend countless hours happily painting away. Unfortunately, some health issues both mental and physical have some to the fore. Reading blogs such as yours helps the mental aspect and gets me motivated to paint. I am curious to see what kind of rules you have in mind. I am hopelessly stuck on Grant and the Charge rules....anyway best wishes!!!

Pat Longton

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