Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rabble In Arms - Like many i have succumb to the temptation to purchase a couple of boxes of the new Wargames factory War of Spanish Succession infantry. If you'd like I'll try to explain the reasoning, but the truth is I simply couldn't help myself.
That said, I needed to rationslise a unit in my Seven Years War era ImagiNation Dressed as the army would have looked 50 years earlier. After a moment or two however, voila the St. Maurice North Eastern Militia. The need for militia being a foregone conclusion in St. Maurice, His Majesty was perfectly content to allow them to cavort in combat in their quaint civilian garb. The problem arose when it was brought to his attention that none of his general staff would be seen on the field of battle with "peasants and goose herders" per Marshal Neigh. If that be the case, then there was nothing left but to procure the appropriate panopoly, and the Loncheney Hussars were immediately sent off to steal them from the Spanish (who weren't using them anyway).

Organization is much the same as the line regiments except that the militia will fight and shoot at a minus on the die roll.
If you haven't had the opportunity to work with these lovely little figures, please make it a priority at some point to do so. I'm sure that if I weren't so firmly into Stadden and Surens, I'd be incluned to build my entire army around them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Urban Renewal - I took a little hiatus from painting figures to add another dwelling to the collection we currently have in Gary's basement. This is The Three Chimneys (or Les Trois Cheminee as they say in St. Maurice). It measures 12" long by 8" wide by 9" high and was made using those wonderful Hirst Arts block molds as well as card stock, foamcore, balsawood, and artboard for the base. All of the vegetation is Woodland Scenics products as well as yarn to represent the actual vines...

Here's the back

Here's the kitchen side

Here's the front

The purist will note no signage. I'm of the experience that, while attractive, those little signs are the first thing to break off, and given that the "little" house is heavy enough, a sign would just compromise movement of the place. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just What Does a Bear Do in the Woods? His lordship Sir Marlin Perkins, Esq. has been put right off his morning tea and scones by a virtual parade of complaining peasants. Seems there is a bear living in the woods on the north-eastern edge of the estate, and he is making a royal nuisance of himself. The lordly head aches with the litany of complaints ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Charges of destroyed crops and livestock were to be expected, but these peasants could get a little carried away. Claims of blood on the moon, strange Ardobergers wandering aimlessly in the woods and the unexpected pregnancy of the beekeeper's wife (unexpected only to him) were enough to keep him on weak tea and dry toast for a month.

"Drat," remarks his lordship, "looks as if I'll have to see to this miserable critter myself." And with that he sets off with his faithful gun-bearer Lacky and his intrepid guide Geraldo for a couple of days in the woods. "We will do manly things," he told his wife. "We will smoke and drink and slaughter brainless woodland creatures without mercy." Ah, it's good to be lord of the manor.

Here we see sir Marlin, flanked to the left by his gun-bearer Lacky

and to the left by the daring adventurer Geraldo.

On their first day, the band of intrepid adventurers sauntered into the woods and spent the greater portion of the day observing the local flora and fauna. "Lovely," commented his lordship. "I should make time to peruse the estate like this more often. It is, after all, what manly men do."

Here we see the bear currently doing whatever it is bears do in the woods, and oblivious to our little band.

Suddenly, the peace and tranquility was shattered by an ear-splitting roar. Our heroes spun to their left and were immediately confronted by the giant carnivore bearing (sorry for the pun but that's what he was doin'.) on them. Nonplussed, sir Marlin called," Lacky; my firearm if you please." The terrified servant immediately cocked the musket and handed it to his master, who promptly missed.

His lordship and friends communing with nature.

In true comic relief fashion Lacky turned and high-tailed it for home, shouting something about his feet not failing him now. The bear blew past lord Perkins close enough to dust his waistcoat, and made a beeline for the rapidly retreating servant. "Lacky, return here this instant!" His lordship was furious as he realised that Lacky still carried the only loaded firearm.

The otherwise faithful attendant never had a chance.

A further description of what the bear did to poor Lacky will be avoided here to spare the weak-livered in the audience. Suffice it to say that, his appetite for the lower classes now slaked, our ursine combatant turns his attention toward his lordship and the intrepid Geraldo. The guide, armed with a stout boar spear, advanced toward the critter in a valiant attempt to protect his employer (and his purse). The bear charges the be-moustached adventurer, who plants his spear and prepares for the worst.

Here we see Lord Marlin, Geraldo and his newly acquired rug.

When the dust had settled enough for his lordship to see again, he observed Geraldo standing with one foot on the bear's head and striking a heroic pose with what was left of his boar spear. "Geraldo, you've save me man," declared the grateful elite. "For that I owe you more than I can ever repay. Feel free to go through Lacky's things for any valuables and stray cash and sell this miserable critter's pelt. I will require only a third of all of it to help me defray the cost of cleaning the smell out of my lovely new hunting coat.

Gary and I played this little scenario last Saturday using Mammalian Mayhem rules. They were a rousing good time, and come highly recommended for little one off hunting games like this one.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And Finally... - When I first developed the concept of the army of St. Maurice, there of course was a need to make a determination regarding the balance of forces. I had remembered reading somewhere that the Grants, in the establishment of their WARGAME, created a pair of antagonists numbering some 1000 infantry, 250 cavalry and 10 or 12 artillery pieces with support troops as necessary. I set out to create my army using roughly the same percentages.

What you see here is the final cavalry regiment from the original mid-1970s plan. This is The Royal Musketeers (or The Princess Maria's Own Regiment of Horse). These are yet another amalgamation of manufacturers; the troopers being Front Rank miniatures while the horses remain the ubiquitous Stadden standing horse. I really love those big nags.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Battle at Coberg - To this point the hostilities existing between St. Maurice and Ardoberg-Holstein have been confined to the "western front," essentially between the villages of Auber and Latrine, and concentrated around the river crossing at Dettingen. Imagine the surprise then, when the Holsteiner garrison commander at Kurmanz donned his telescope just long enough to observe the advance of no less than 2 infantry regiments (4 line battalions) and 3 cavalry regiments advancing on his town from the bridge from Ravina.

The commander hastily beat a retreat (or as they say in Ardoberg-Holstein, a re-deployment)
back toward the village of Coberg, with the hope of drawing off the advancing francophones as well as to gain the assistance of reinforcements from further to the north. Alas, neither was to be as the St. Mauricians invested Kurmainz and, leaving behind 2nd St. Germain to garrison the town, rushed forward to assault the Grand Duck's (sic) forces.
Observing that a confrontation was not only inevitable but imminent, The Ardoberger commander, whose name has been lost in the interest of good taste, occupied the cluster of dwellings known as Grunt with the Isselbach and Zweibrucken regiments, and placed the regiment Kurmainz in line with flanks resting on the berg as well as a copse of trees.

For their part, the St. Maurician army under the command of colonel-general Bonnechance deploys directly from their route march with Bonnechance commanding the left wing and brigadier Baguette commanding the right.

Here we see the redeployment of the Ardoberger regiment Kurmainz , still in line, now faced to their left toward the trees. Isselbach has marched out of the village and formed line to fill in the gap between Kurmainz and the village. The St. Maurician cavalry regiment Rohan-Soubise and the Loncheney Hussars have moved well to the left of the A-H flank, forcing the re-deployment. In the mean time the St. Maurician battalions 1st. Clare and 1st St. Germain have been ordered to drive on the center. The Isembourg cavalry regiment (bottom left) remains well out of the action because...

...they maneuvered a little too close to the Zweibrucken regiment in the houses and suffered severely for it. They would take no more part in the action of the day.

Seeing the onslaught coming in front of them, the brave, if fool-hardy Isselbach colonel orders his men to fix bayonets and charge. Silly man. Bayonet is a French word; or in this case Irish as 1st Clare forcibly encouraged the novice Holsteiners from the field.

The Kurmainz regiment picks it's way through the trees and manages to drive off the St. Maurician cavalry under the very eyes of their commander. Brigadier Baguette and his staff have ensconced on the Blast-off bridge, seeing it as not only elevation to observe the troops but it's stonework should keep the self-important personage in one piece through the fighting. The 2nd Clare advances behind it's senior battalion to force the center.

It is clear here that the battle is ended as the Isembourg cavalry are beginning their valiant advance once again.

As the remainder of his hapless troops scrambles to escape, we see the A-H commander galloping from the field and signaling to his St. Maurician adversaries that age-old hand signal that "we're #1."

This game was a lot of fun (not the least of which because I won). It saw the evolution of a rule we had incorporated in the last battle whereby a commander wishing to withdraw from the field needed to wait at least 6 turns from the beginning of the game before declaring his intention to do so. Once declared, the retreating commander rolls a D-6 die with the results being the number of turns his opponent had left to do whatever damage could be done. The game would then go on normally until the D-6 number was reached, at which point the game ends. This rule was one of Gary's ideas and presents the kind of headaches a commander suffers in attempting to get as many of his troops out of contact and away alive as possible. And speaking of Gary...

... the smile is actually a wince...

...and a parting shot of the valiant Blast-off bridge defenders.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dream Sequence - Whether the pressures of the monarchy or a bad batch of snails, His Majesty experienced the most astounding dream of his lordly life the other day. He dreamed he was overseeing a small village in eastern Europe. A band of futuristic wanderers had made their way into the community which was in the throes of conflict with a new and very evil neighbor, the vampire Vlad Ardo. Our intrepid adventurers managed to decipher enough of the local lingo to determine that since the arrival of the notorious neck-nibbler the town had lost no less than four of it's fairest beauties and every male in the neighborhood was scrambling to tie down his daughters (and wives) from the wiles of this lethal lothario.

This was no ordinary collection of odd-speaking sight-seers. this was in fact none other than those world famous American adventurers, the Nekked twins, Buck and Stark. Todether with their faithful body guard Ernie McBride, their paramour the prim Penelope Primm, and that junk science genius doctor Timothy F. Geithner, PhD. Together thay have been traveling the world in search of justice that needs doing, wrongs that need righting, and evil that needs..... em............... to be fixed.

The team of Buck Nekked and Ernie McBride

The team of Penelope Primm and Timothy FGeithner, PhD

Stark Nekked and his intrepid band of terrified locals

At the outset, Buck and Ernie set out to scout the eastern edge of the village and possibly get the jump on the monster. No sooner had they progressed a hundred years from their conveyance, the Nekkedmobile, than they spotted a terrifying toothy grin rolling out of the mist. "Well shuckie-gee," exclaimed Buck, who nonetheless raised his rifle and fired. The bullet struck the vamp square between the eyes, and immediately placed him (it?) in critical condition. Vlad managed to recover enough to continue even though a second shot on the next turn laid him low yet again. Fortunately for the creature, his newly acquired brides arrived just in time to draw off the gunfire. Vlad immediately took the low road around several buildings and out of the action altogether. The Vladettes stormed into the village and almost immediately overwhelmed Ernie who succumbed to his wounds in short order. Buck attempted to withdraw to their conveyance, currently occupied only by Timothy F. Geithner, PhD who had immediately jumped into the front seat and locked the doors when the gunfire started. Buck managed to get within several yards of the prim Penelope Primm when he was overwealmed by vampettes and died in a hail of teeth.

The prim Penelope Primm, after a brief chorus of "You'll Never Walk Alone," tore into one or two of the brides in one of the most legendary cat fights in wargames history. Timothy F. Geithner, PhD remained content to cheer her on, however the dastardly Vlad Ardo had managed to steal his way up to the vehicle and use his considerable psychic powers to force the junk scientist out of the jitney. Never underestimate the resiliance of a life-long coward however, and the pusillanimous PhD dove out the other side of the truck and high-tailed it for the bridge and the safety of Stark and the constabulary.

The end of Buck and Ernie, the cat fight and the vamp tries to hypnotize the doc.

The doctor never made it across the bridge. Badly wounding a vampire early in a wargame leaves the monster without a sense of humor, and terrible things happened to the scientist before his passing. At the same time, two of the brides leaped the river and made short work of the constabulary, while Stark succumb to a barrage of slashing claws and flying dentures. When the dust had settled, the only one left standing was the prim Penelope Primm (don't it figure!), who straitened her frock, climbed into the truck and drove away.

This was a great little game using the Chaos In Carpathia rules again. A highly recommended rules system that has been very user friendly but with plenty of opportunity for the addition of the bells and whistles that color up the game. I apologize for the whole dream sequence thing, but I simply couldn't rationalize another way to incorporate a 30's era pulp adventure into a 18th century blog site. Will do better next time, I promise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Battle of Dettingen Bridge - Following their narrow escape from a numerically superior Ardoberger force, our beleaguered troops withdrew to Dettingen bridge, some moles to the south. Their commander, his excellency the Duke of Palmatiere, reasoned that he might be able to deal with the Ardobergers on a more even footing if he could goad them into attacking him in prepared defences at the bridge. Unfortunately, Ardoberg-Holstein had other ideas...

The Ardobergers managed to harass our troops during the withdrawl, forcing the Duke to turn and form battle line on open ground just north of the bridge. As can be seen, the Ardobergers wasted no time in extending the right flank of their massive army, and the first turn of battle saw their right wing move to flank our troops.

At the same time, the Ardoberg elite heavy cavalry brigade began it's advance on the left, effectively pinning the St. Mauricians in place. Here, we seen Ardoberg's Grand Duck (sic) actually taking the field, although well to the rear and out of the fighting. One provides inspiration as one can I suppose. His counterpart, the Duke of Palmatiere, his next move ("do I stay behind these Scots horsemen or look for the quickest way out of here?") Nearest in the picture, Ardoberger horse and British foot have reached their positions and begin to move on the open left flank of the weakened St. Maurician line. In the distance, Ardoberger cavalry and their elite foot guards and grenadiers assault the hedgerow defences of the St. Maurician infantry and artillery. The Ardoberger Electoral Foot Guards have driven off the Arquebusieres de Bergerac in an effort to force passage through the hedgerow. The Ardobergers, with their British allies, advance gallantly on the undefended section of the hedgerow. The St. Mauricians simply have nothing left to throw at them. The final disposition of the armies at the end of the game. The pathetic Duke must now report to His Majesty that St. Maurice has lost yet another engagement with Ardoberg-Holstein, but has suffered the destruction of three of it's front line units; the Arquebusieres de Bergerac, the 1st. battalion Navarre regiment and "B" battery of the Royal Artillery Regiment. The only bright spot in this day of disasters was the performance of the Gendarmere de St. Maurice. Single-handedly, they destroyed an elite regiment of cuirassiers and drove off a second elite unit of royal dragoons.

All in all not a good showing on the part of the St. Mauricians. His Majesty needs to find a way to reverse this trend or we may all soon become just another germanic colony and forced to drink..., dare I say it, (gad!!).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dragoons de Moliere - The latest addition to His Majesty's army is the Moliere Dragoons. Here seen standing review for the lord marshal Neigh, the dragoons will shortly take their place in the battle line where they will be brigaded with the Isembourg regiment. This regiment was raised by a relative new-comer to the royal court of St. Maurice, Armand Viscount de Moliere. There is no evidence to support the claim that his lordship and the famous French playwright who's stage name was Moliere were in any way related. It is possible however that that incredibly talented comedian may certainly have anticipated this later namesake in at least two of his works; "Le Malade Imaginaire" ("The Imaginary Invalid") and "Tartuffe ou Le'Imposteur" ("Tartuffe or The Hypocrite"). Regardless, one would hope the troopers would do their master proud, even if he may never return the favor.
As can be seen the cavalrymen are helmeted per a later period. As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, St. Maurice, in panoply and style, probably has more in common with Gilbert and Sullivan than any true military force of any time period. When looking for a suitable horseman, I spotted this one among the Staddens and ... he just looked too good to leave out. Such is the attraction to Imagi-nations. The unit also has the distinction of being the second to last cavalry regiment scheduled for addition to the Army of St. Maurice (and with a little good time management and some luck, the last may be done before Summer.).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Here we see La Marne about to empty a number of Ardoberg cavalry mounts as the formerly grand and glorious Diefenbach regiment beats a hasty retreat. Well into the distance, we can observe Kilbasa Lancers trying to find their way back across the river. Swieta krowa!

Victory! His Majesty's forces delivered a spanking to a marginally superior army of the Grand Duck (sic) of Ardoberg-Holstein, near the town of Auber. Under the able leadership of petite general Bertrand Alouette, the small but fiesty command stood their ground against the invaider. Their green troop status notwithstanding, the first battalion La Marne laid low many an Ardoberger of the Diefenbach regiment, then wheeled in solid parade ground fashion and dealt similarly with the Holstein-Gotha Dragoons. When the smoke had cleared, the Ardobergers were nowhere to be seen and the men of La Marne were having a leisurely lunch of cheese and some fine german sausages "liberated" from the remains of former invaiders.
In a related story, The Kilbasa Lancers, who had moved to flank the Ardobergers, became lost once across the river. When questioned later it was learned that the command's chief guide had been reading the Michelin upside down. This little incident may help to explain just how a Polish cavalry unit ever made it to St. Maurice in the first place.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dateline Cezanne - His Majesty's forces suffered serious losses earlier this week while on maneuvers near the town of Dettingen. The second battalion of La Marne regiment was forced, through an inconvenient geographic anomaly (a hill with cavalry on it), to take to the water of a nearby creek. The unorthodox retreat was a flagrant violation of His Majesty's military hygene laws forbidding the bathing of troops in any body of water which could potentially be used for watering the horses. This outrageous breach of etiquette has resulted in the caning of three junior sergeants and an ensign and the censuring of the regimental colonel, l'Hopital, at His Majesty's morning tea.
This reporter has been unable to procure the name or any additional information on the cavalry whose proximity seems to have stimulated the rout, however I have been assured that all reports the horsemen were in fact troops from Ardoberg-Holstein was not only mistaken but absurd in the extreme. When I followed up with a question as to why His Majesty's troops might be holding maneuvers well beyond the Ardoberg border, it was suggested that I might want to try investigating reports of fraud and financial chicanery in the English army. My ship leaves from Calais in two days.
Here we see the initial disposition of His Majesty's forces "on maneuver." 2nd battalion La Marne is in the foreground with 1st Navarre parallel with them across the creek and the Arquebusiers de Bergerac just further along. FitzAndrew's Horse can also be seen moving up the road with 1st Languedoc to their left.

Military observers from Ardoberg-Holstein form up to watch their perennial adversary carry out the drill.

The Ardoberger cavalry brigade advances to get a closer look at the goings-on. Perfectly understandable given the diminutive stature of their mounts. Hard to see much on those dogs.
The advance of the "observers" seems to be the provocation for the subsequent La Marne aqua festival. Pushy chaps those Ardobergers.
Gettin' a better look. The Grand Duck's (sic) forces trundle themselves around to watch this stellar exibition of the matrial art.

The might of St. Maurice, now sans La Marne, in their final disposition of the maneuver. Please ignore the slight traffic jam at the intersection. Artillerymen can be rather contentious when on the road, scrambling to get out of town.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Boys will be boys - In one of the funniest pranks anyone in this part of Europe has seen in quite a while, the Grand Duck (sic) of Ardoberg-Holstein has flummoxed our good and great king into believing the two nations were at war. The incessant braying and sabre-rattling was this time accompanied by sufficient troop movements along the border to produce consternation in the Winter court at Olivier. The 1st battalion Navarre and the Arquebusiers de Bergerac were immediately dispatched to investigate and discovered a paltry brigade of the rambunctious cabbage-eaters whooping it up with vast quantities of the local spirits, collecting filthy French postcards, playing five-card whist, and other forms of debauchery.
Our valiant men-at-arms escorted the boisterous, if otherwise comical, reprobates back to their own land, hoping to discover their mothers for a good and necessary scolding. "Ah, the joke was on me," exclaimed His Majesty. "for a moment, I really thought we were being invaided."

Here, in pictures from left to right and top to bottom, we see the hilarious mob of Ardobergers pretending to surround the town of Cezanne with His majesty's troops ensconced within. After several hours of artillery noise-making, the colonel of Navarre, Alain d' Anjou
rode out to complain about the noise at which point the tutonic commander, whose name escapes me, begged forgiveness and led his troops back to the border.
In a related story, Col. d'Anjou has formally requested that the raucous pranksters return his sword.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Retraction Demanded - His Majesty de St. Maurice has, in the past, been willing to accept the frequent diatribes of that primer of modern literary journalism, The Ardoberg Inquirer. One reading of this incipient rag, with it's articles often written in crayon and paint-by-numbers illustrations, is usually enough to relegate such writings to the bottom of the bird cage as it was designed. The current edition, however, is more than even a benevolent soul such as His Majesty can sustain.
To suggest that a simple cooperative military exercise between two such staunch and lasting friends as the St. Maurician monarchy and the Ducky of Ardoberg and Holstein might in fact be a successful invasion attempt is simply outrageous. An inquiry into the history of such invasions in the past will show just how absurd this declaration might be. No previous military incursion into our happy little kingdom has succeeded past the first outbreak of French cuisine on German digestive tracts, at which point the Ardobergers make tracks for the first tutonic privy.

In an unrelated story; the sale of filthy French postcards in the province of Cezanne over the past week. Store owners are unable to explain the increase in demand.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Adieu Boys - His Majesty de St. Maurice and entourage review "les Anciens" as they march
off toward the Ardoberg frontier. This is the St. Maurice 1st Brigade and is composed of the regiments Navarre and Languedoc. To date, the brigade remains understrength, being composed of only the first battalion for each of the regiments. Recruitment is underway however, which simply means that drinking to excess anywhere in the kingdom may result in not only a hangover but a ten year enlistment.
His Majesty's expeditionary force for this campaign season include:
1st battalion Navarre
1st battalion Languedoc
1st battalion Clare
2nd battalion Clare
1st battalion St. Germain
2nd battalion St. Germain
light battalion Arquebusiers de Bergerac
"B" battery Royal Artillery Regiment
"A" battery Royal Horse Artillery
Rohan-Soubisse Cavalry
Fitz Andrew's Horse
Kilbasa Lancers
Next - The Campaign Begins