Wars of Eagles and Empires

I haven’t posted in quite some time.  Work has been pretty busy, and my limited social media time has been focused on supporting the various Facebook pages that Sally 4th has established for Wars of Ozz and Wars of Orcs and Dwarves.

The setup for last weekend’s playtest scenario, based on Barry Hilton’s article in Miniature Wargames of the Battle of Walcourt 1689. Many of the scenarios I am creating for Wars of Eagles and Empires are generic versions of actual battles.

When Old Glory and I set out on the Wars of Ozz journey, Russ sought a massed battle, black powder, fantasy game to support his wonderful line of figures.  I used the Seven Years’ War as general inspiration as I designed the rules.  While not an expert on the Seven Years’ War specifically, I have read about tactics and grand tactics of the period.  My initial goal was to eventually grow Wars of Ozz into a Napoleonic set of rules.

The game begins. Mark controled the French, and Wayne controlled the Russians. The scenario was set up for six players, but only two were able to participate. While the game moved along fine, it was a little slower than other playtests due to the huge span of control.

After releasing Wars of Ozz, Sally 4th convinced me to create Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD).  Those rules were meant to be a come-as-you-are set of mass battle fantasy rules.  When I started on the rules, I didn’t even have any fantasy figures for playtests.  Much of the development happened during the mass hysteria of the pandemic, so play tests were done over Zoom with friends worldwide.  During the WOOD development, I still wanted to eventually turn the Wars of Ozz engine into a set of rules for Napoleonic games.  In addition, I had it in mind that the rules would be supported by a series of supplements for other black powder periods, such as the Seven Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War, the Jacobite Rebellion, and the American Revolution.

Mark impetuously charged his French columns against the most forward Russian battalions. The French objective was to capture the hill on the right of the picture.

In the past year, even while WOOD was being formatted for publishing, I began developing Wars of Eagles and Empires.  Development is coming along nicely, I think. The rules seem to be working. Napoleonics are, of necessity, more complicated than Ozz, but I have worked hard to keep it as simple as possible without losing the Napoleonic feeling.

The French advance. After the game, I suggested that Mark might have spent a turn advancing before launching a bunch of charges. This would have allowed him to charge the enemy more in mass. Instead, his attacks came piecemeal, which helped the outnumbered Russians maintain their lines.

In parallel with rules development, I am also developing a set of scenarios.  These are meant for Eagles and Empires but could be used for other lesser systems as well.  Eagles and Empires are designed from division-level engagements.  I recognize that the trend in the hobby is to recreate Leipzig on a card table with nine figures in 15 minutes, but I prefer those smaller engagements with up to three players on a side.  I recognize that this will (once again) limit the commercial viability of the rules, but I am designing them for myself.  If others enjoy them too, that’s a bonus.

This is a scene early in the scenario. In the foreground, you can see the remnants of a French cavalry charge by chasseurs against some Russian infantry.

This development has also allowed me to get my old Minifigs on the table again.  I love the new 28mm figures from Old Glory and other manufacturers, but I cut my teeth on Airfix, and Minifigs were my first metal figures.  Ozz, WOOD, and Eagles and Empries are designed to provide an old-school feel but with modern, streamlined mechanics.  So, there is something satisfying about using older figures, where every figure in a battalion is in the same pose.

Mid-game, several battalions of French throw themselves at Russian grenadiers. At this point, I thought the French were about to punch a hole in the Russian line but note the Russian grenadiers and cuirassiers prepared to plug a hole.

Last weekend my buddy Mark was in Orlando for golf camp.  He was able to take time from chasing a little white ball around a field to come over and play a wargame.   After every playtest game, I tweak the charts a bit.  I am pretty close to done with development and will begin writing soon.  It has been about a year of development time.  I suspect I will have them ready for public consumption in another year to eighteen months.

French chasseurs battle with Russian dragoons.
On the French left flank, French hussars battled with Russian cavalry. By the end of the third turn, the French had swept the French cavalry and threatened to turn the Russian right flank.
French and Bavarian infantry advanced toward the Russian center. Note that one French battalion (on the right of the image) is retreating from the Russian fire. Wayne effectively used his single artillery battery to blunt the French attacks.  You have to love the look of those huge battalions on the table!
A Bavarian battalion almost punched through the Russian line.
Again on the French left flank, you can see French cuirassiers fighting Russian dragoons.  I had just finished painting four regiments of French hussars for this scenario.  Mark violated “Buck’s Law,” which states that the first time you put a new unit on the table, they get wiped out.
Here is one final look at the table showing the French trying to punch through the Russian line. I love the look of large battalions!

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures sprinkled throughout this post.

Pass in Review!

I have been working on the figures in the new Yule faction for Wars of Ozz.  My goal was to have everything painted in time for Historicon, but I think I will be two elf regiments short.

Today I completed a unit of Teddy Bear infantry.

Note that the Teddy Bears have blue neckerchiefs and trim on their hats.
Note the flag designs. This is the third regiment in the Yule army, so their flag has three Christmas ornaments.
The Teddy Bear regiment ready for action.

I have previously posted here and on Facebook the other regiments as I completed them.  There are enough different units in the Yule faction for probably two or three players to have 25-point brigades.

Teddy bear regiment
First regiment. This is the first regiment, the toy soldier cadets, painted to resemble West Point cadets.
The second regiment of Yule
First Grenadier regiment.
Toy soldier cavalry
Babo Natale and La Bifania.
The artillery

I have created a Reaction Test chart, army list, and sheet of flags for this faction that will be available along with the figures.

Old School Goblins for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

I have been working on armies for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves.  I have hobbits, orcs, some humans, and goblins.  My goblin forces are primarily made of Ral Partha Legacy old school goblins like the ones I had in high school.  I have chosen to paint them in AD&D yellow instead of GW green.  I wouldn’t have tried that without Iyanden Yellow Contrast paint.

Ral Partha Legacy old school goblin imps with hand weapons.
Another view
Ral Partha goblins with swords. Note the red shield decorations.
A side view.
The rear view showing the red capes to match the red shield decorations.

I finished these figures last weekend, but I just got around to flocking them last night.

While I was painting the two units of goblins over the weekend, I finally finished this unit of ducks I had been working on for weeks.

A unit of duck militia with mixed weapons.
I think I will allow two bases to shoot, since here are some bows and spears mixed in the group.

Philippines 1942 for Recon

American infantry destroy a Japanese tank by close assault.

In preparation for Recon 2022 in Orlando, FL, in April, I have been play testing a scenario set in the Philippines prior to the surrender.  I have tweaked the scenario after each instance, and I think it will make a good fight at the convention.

I have been interested in this period for a while.  Pulp Figures makes between-the-wars Americans, and Brigade Games makes Philippine scouts.  I (and a couple of others) commissioned several different poses from Steve Barber Miniatures.  Together, these give me all the figures I need to game this period.

The scenario involves an American infantry platoon defending a bridge across a stream.  The Japanese are advancing.  The Americans initially have three under-strength squads, an anti-tank gun, two .30 cal. water-cooled machine-guns, and a command element.  A fourth squad and an M3 Stuart arrive as reinforcements.  The Japanese have four full-strength squads, two Type 95 Ha-Go tanks, and a command element.

The American side of the table.
The Japanese side of the table. The Japanese forces start 18″ from the rear edge of the table.

The Japanese start 18″ from their table edge.  For every 18″ that they advance across the table, the Japanese receive five victory points.  The tanks do not accrue these points, only the infantry.  It is only necessary for one infantryman to advance 18″ to get the five victory points, but this is measured at the end of the game.  They cannot dash forward, get points, and then get killed.  They have to be alive at the end of the game.  The Americans receive five points for knocking out a tank.  Both sides receive one victory point for each enemy soldier who is incapacitated.  The thought is that giving the Japanese points for ground will encourage them to advance.  The game ends after three hours of play, which can be a variable number of turns.

The first time I ran the scenario it was a blowout for the Japanese.  I thought that was because I didn’t leave enough fields of fire for the Americans.  In the second running, I added a couple more hills to enable the Americans to fire over the foliage at the stream.  I also broke up the foliage on the American right to give them fields of fire.  The second instance was closer, but still a decisive American victory.  I want it to be more of a nail biter.  For Recon, I will add a fourth American squad that enters the table and let the Stuart enter earlier.

When the Americans lose five figures, the fourth squad enters from their rear table edge.  This should enforce some level of defense in depth.  When ten figures are killed, the Stuart enters the table.  In both instances of the scenario the Americans defended far forward and had no reserve, so it felt very much like a hard crust and a soft interior.  I had envisioned the Americans firing from advanced positions to disrupt the Japanese and then withdrawing to a second line of defense.  Retrograde operations are difficult to conduct in real life and also hard on the tabletop.

Below are some pictures from the play tests.

American infantry close assaults and knocks out a Japanese tank. In the first instance of the scenario, the American anti-tank gun missed three times, so it came down to the infantry to knock out the tanks with grenades.
The handsome and debonaire game master.
Early in the scenario.
Japanese initial dispositions.
Early in the game. You can see a portion of the American deployment.
The Japanese are starting to take casualties.
You can see a satisfying amount of death and mayhem as the Japanese push across the stream.

I am pretty happy with the look of the table.  The roads are from Battlefield Terrain Concepts (BTC).  The stream is from Deep Cut Studios and is made of mouse mat material.  The bridge is an old Hovels model, I think.  The trees are a mix of BTC, flea market finds, cake decorating trees, and bamboo from Amazon.   The cloth is a fleece blanket I had printed with a high-resolution image I purchased on DriveThru.

The stream is fordable as rough terrain.  You can’t really tell in these pictures, but there are a lot of hills under the fleece.

If you live near Florida, come to Recon and give this scenario a try.

Reading Up on the Philippines

I am interested in the Philippines in the early part of WWII.  I commissioned Steve Barber to sculpt some figures for the period to supplement the between-the-wars figures from Pulp Figures.  I have also recently ordered the Philippine scouts from Brigade Games.  Now I am in search of historical rather than “typical” scenarios.  To that end, I found a bunch of good books that have arrived.  Like when I became interested in the Mexican-American War, I will binge read bout this period.  I hope to find enough scenarios to make a good scenario supplement for Combat Patrol(R).  I am sure there are more, but here are the ones in my reading queue.  I am hoping they provide a source of scenarios for Bataan before the surrender as well as the guerrilla war.  I didn’t realize there were so many guerrilla commanders in the Philippines or how many of them went on to be founding member of US Army Special Forces.

Recently Completed Fantasy Figures

When I began work on Wars of Orcs and Dwarves, the adaptation or Wars of Ozz for massed-battle fantasy games,  I realized that I had no fantasy figures.  Oh, I had a handful of figures from high school that we used in role-playing games, but nothing like the number of figures needed for massed-battle games.  So, I started painting fantasy figures.  My armies are mostly hobbits (from a variety of manufacturers, including Mirlaton, Assault Group, and Wargames Atlantic) and orcs (Old Glory, 3D printed figures, Dragon Bait, and Minifigs).

I have enough hobbits to create three player’s worth (three brigades), including cavalry and artillery.  When I completed the orc infantry, I realized that I didn’t have cavalry or artillery for them.  I reached out to Ironwind to see if I could get some Death Jaws, which are generally out of production.  Ironwind has many of the old molds, and if you reach out to them, they can often make figures for you.   (Unfortunately, they don’t have the molds for Roomans.

So below are pictures of Death Jaws and another similar type of cavalry, Fast Claws, that I recently painted.  Note that the majority of my orcs are in Original D&D yellow instead of GW green.  Enjoy.

A unit of five Death Jaw lancers. Don’t make fun of the pink mounts because they will eat your face. I added these leftover Victorix Viking shields
A slightly different view of the lancers.
A five-based unit of Death Jaws with swords.
Fast Claw cavalry with swords.
I sprayed the mounts with a flecked Testors paint I got in the model section at Hobby Lobby. I think the effect is good.
Another, closer view of the Fast Claws.

I hope to get these on the table soon.

I have ordered some interesting and eclectic orc artillery units that should arrive shortly to complete my orc force.  I also ordered some old-school Ral Partha Legacy goblins like the ones I had back in high school to provide allies for the orcs.


A number of us elected to not attend Historicon / Fall In last weekend for a variety of reasons.  We took the opportunity, however, to meet in Chris’ basement to do some in-person miniatures gaming.  We played three games:  A Feudal Patrol(TM) Aztec skirmish from the upcoming FREE Meso American supplement.

Aztec Raid

This game was hosted by Mark Morin and involved an Aztec raid on a Tlaxcalan village.  Unbeknownst to the Aztecs, a group of Conquistadors was in the village as well.  It was a hard-fought battle, but in the end our Aztecs prevailed and brought home many prisoners for ritual sacrifice.

The initial setup, Tlaxcalan village on the left and Aztec raiders on the right.
Our Aztecs begin to advance. The fields were muddy, so they slowed us to half movement. This forces us to move along the channels created between the fields.
Starting positions for some of the Aztecs.
Greg defending the village with bowmen and Conquistadors. He really WAS having fun.
The Aztec advance continues.
Tlaxcalan bowmen took up a position on the forward edge of a corn field and begin pelting my advancing Aztecs.
Fire from the Conquistadors shredded my Aztecs.
Dave’s Aztecs advance on Chris’ defenders.
Duncan’s Aztecs berserked into the corn field and a fierce, multi-activation melee ensued.
A wide view of the carnage.
The battle of the corn field continued.
Dave eventually won the day on the Aztec right.
The Conquistadors never moved. They began the game pinned and stayed that way most of the game. Their fire was devastating but would have been even more so had they unpinned. That might have made the difference between Aztec victory and defeat.

Wars of Ozz

The second game was Wars of Ozz(TM), hosted by Chris based on a Napoleonic scenario from a 1981 issue of Wargames Digest.  The Munchkins were advancing to keep open a road, but the Winkies were working to keep control.

Initial setup. We had three brigades of Munchkins. Two were tightly packed along the road.
Our Munchkins were maneuvering into position.
We worked hard to try to unclog our forces and deploy. We were surprised by the speed of the WInkie advance.
Munchkin cavalry on our left tried to slow the WInkie advance. It didn’t go well.
Another ill-fated Munchkins cavalry charge. This should have gone well, but the stars (and dice) were not our friends.
I love the colors of Ozz games!
Greg’s Winkies advance quickly on Duncan’s right flank. (Greg really WAS having fun.)
Marks Winkies on their right engaged in a series of aggressive charges against Dave’s Munchkins. In the end, Mark’s command was shattered, and Dave had several fresh units, but they kept us away from the road.
Greater pumpkin heads too Dave’s artillery on the flank and route it.
Chris’ bears smashed into one of my Munchkin units. It was a close-run affair, but both our units were smashed.
Duncan fired on one of the advancing Winkie units. In response, they charged Duncan. In a series of results, I hadn’t seen strung together like that, Greg charged, Duncan did little damage and backed up 4″ disordered. The Winkie reaction was the charge again. This happened several times, until that unit nearly cleared our right flank. Then a second unit of Winkies charges… It was ugly.
At this point, though we had several fresh units on our left, the Munchkins conceded victory to the evil Winkies. There was very little likelihood we were going to cut the road in any reasonable time. One thing I have learned from Ozz and WOOD games is that fortunes can change quickly, so we could have been wrong, but that’s how we all saw it at the time.

7TV Fantasy

Several of the folk left after the Ozz game (but not because of the Ozz game, but Chris, Duncan, and I participated in a first running of 7TV Fantasy run by Greg.   As this was our first time running or playing the game, it went a little slowly.  We had a good time, and I look forward to a second running when we will be more familiar with the mechanics.

My Star Hat duck warriors faced off against some humans. We were both trying to collect artifacts from the table.

All-in-all, Christoricon was a great success.  Everyone enjoyed some in-person gaming with friends.  We’ve been doing a number of Zoom-based games.  I live in Florida now, and host games with players in Maryland, North Carolina, and the UK.  For me, miniatures gaming is my social outlet, and it was fun to game in person again.

Completed Two Units for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

Despite a busy schedule, I managed to complete two more units for my Wars of Orcs and Dwarves hobbit army.  The first was a pair of elephants with hobbits on their backs.  The hobbits came from Wargames Atlantic.  The elephants were from Reaper.  I decided that, since this was a fantasy army, I’d have fun with the colors of the elephants.

Elephants and riders. The howdahs were scratch built. The harness straps were made from electrical tape.

In Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD), large creatures are mounted on larger bases, but always a multiple of 2″x2″.  In this case, the two elephants count as a four-base unit.

The second unit was a unit of hobbit slingers.  They too are Wargames Atlantic.  I had trouble getting enough slingers for a full, 20-figure unit, so there are a couple of sergeants with halberds to keep them in line.

All of my hobbits carry “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.
There is a chicken on the helmet of the officer in the center. I think this was supposed to be mounted on a flag staff, but I liked it as a helmet decoration.

Gaming time has been sparse lately, so I don’t know when these chaps will get on the table for a bit of derring do.

Wars of Ozz Game Last Weekend

I received an Email recently from Les, who is a fan of Combat Patrol(R) that he was going to be in Florida near where I live for a few days. We took the opportunity for him to come over and try Wars of Ozz for the first time. I had planned on a rather large game including Zoom and in-person players, but a number of people had to cancel at the last minute. We played a two-player Ozz game with Dave playing Nomes and Les playing Munchkins.

Initial setup for the game. The white tags are to help players participating via Zoom.

The scenario involved the Nomes and Munchkins vying for control of a key crossroad. It was a simple scenario to introduce Les to the rules. Each side had 25 points.

The Munchkin force had two Landwehr units in column along the road (M3 and M4), a medium artillery battery (M5), Sourdough’s Regiment (M1), and a regiment of light cavalry.
The Nomes begin to advance. Throughout the game, Dave played the Nomes very aggressively, which may have been his downfall — or maybe it was his dismal dice rolling. The Nomes had two blunderbuss units (N1 at the top of the picture and N2), two axe-armed units (N3 and N4), and a medium artillery battery.

As usual, turn one consisted mostly of both sides maneuvering into contact.

The Munchkins advance toward the crossroads.
Nomes advance aggressively…
… Then it got exciting.

Dave charged with his Nomes and gained some initial success against the Munchkin Landwehr, with their poor Melee attributes. The Landwehr counter attacked against he blunderbuss men. In FIVE consecutive Reaction Tests at close range, Dave’s blunderbuss men never decided to fire. The blunderbusses have an advantage at close range, and Dave’s poor Reaction Tests on his right flank probably contributed most to his eventual defeat.

On the other flank, the Munchkin light cavalry threw back Dave’s other Nome blunderbuss unit. They eventually rallied and took another stab at the cavalry, but not before the horsemen charged and routed the Nome artillery. Dave failed another Reaction Test and did not get of effective artillery fire before the horsemen closed.
A Nome axe unit did manage to route the Munchkin artillery as the center and Nome right got more confused.
This is right before the cavalry charge defeated the Nome artillery. In the distance you can see the Nome axe unit that routed the Munchkin artillery but never managed to take advantage of the situation to hit either Munchkin infantry unit on the flank.
The Munchkins have driven back the aggressive Nomes and resumed their advance toward the crossroad.
At this point, the Nomes had only one unit left. Although they technically held the crossroads, at the end of turn four, we called the game a Munchkin victory. The Nomes had no hope of holding the crossroad if we had played another turn.

Despite dismal die rolling by Dave, I think that both players had a good time. Les’ dice were about average, some good rolls and some bad. I don’t think Dave rolled less than 9 on a Reaction Test the whole game.

This was Les’ first experience with the rules, and he seemed to like them. He is working on his own rules for the American Revolution. I have sent what I think is the final draft of Wars of Orcs and Dwarves to the publisher for layout. Soon I will begin work on Wars of Eagles and Empires (for black powder era warfare). The initial rules will focus on the Napoleonic Wars, and I’ll be looking for folks to write supplements for other periods, such as the Seven Years War, Jacobite Rebellion, and AWI. I am talking to Les about writing that supplement.

Culverin Science Fiction Vehicles for Star Patrol(R)

For many years I have been using Combat Patrol(R) for “serious” science fiction games and GASLIGHT for pulpy science fiction games.  I have begun adapting Combat Patrol(R) and Albedo Combat Patrol(TM) as a new release of a set of rules for science fiction skirmish games.  I have been collecting vehicles and figures from a variety of manufacturers for years.  Recently, I discovered vehicle kits from Culverin.  They are a mix of resin and 3D printed parts.

This weekend I finished several of them.

The Typhos tank comes with several different weapons.  The kit is meant for you to choose one.  Instead, I inset some small rare-earth magnets to make the weapons interchangeable based on the scenario.  In this series of pictures, you can see the various weapons.  (The gray portions are 3D printed, and the white portion is resin.)

Typhos with mini-gun.
Typhos with short-range cannon.
Typhos with long-range cannon.
Typhos with dual energy beam weapons.
Typhos with demolition gun.

They also offer a tank destroyer.

Culverin tank destroyer.
I have painted my science fiction vehicles in a number of different paint schemes over the years. I decided to paint these in US WWII olive drab.
The Typhos tank with no main weapon. The secondary weapon can be a cannon, flame thrower, heavy machine-gun, or beam weapon.

Here are the finished Typos tanks with the various weapons.

Typos with long-range, heavy cannon.
Typhos with mini-gun.
Typhos with demolition gun.
Typhos with short-range cannon.
Typhos with dual energy beam weapons.

Culverin makes a bunch of different vehicles.  Another one I like is the Hyena armored personnel carrier.  It comes with three different weapons as well.

Hyena APC with mini-gun.
Hyena with anti-tank gun.
Hyena with flamer.  The figures are from Pig Iron.

Finally, I also bought three of the Boar weapon carriers.  These look like over-sized Bren / Universal carriers.  I have two with heavy machine-guns and one with a flame thrower.

Boar weapon carriers.

Service from Culverin was fast, and everything arrived in good condition.  They assembled easily.  I recommend that you drill holes in the weapons and turret front of the Typhos to allow you to exchange weapons.