Sunday, 2 December 2012

Of Books, Battles, and Bling...

Lots to report.   Christmas has come early, my painting mojo seems to have been resuscitated, and last Sunday saw the West Tokyo Wargamers have one of our largest and hard-fought games of Black Powder to date.  Some pictures (with lots more and a report to follow), but first some recent book purchases.

I was very happy to receive my copy of Charles S. Grant's Peninsular Actions (Volume 7 of the Wargaming in History series) from Ken Trotman books. I have all Charles Grant's 18th C. titles in the series, and was eagerly awaiting this one, his first on the Napoleonic Wars.
I wasn't disappointed!  The book covers battles like Rolica, the River Coa and Fuentes de Onoro, as well as smaller and perhaps less well-known fights like the cavalry clash at Sahagun and- interestingly- the Battle of Barossa.  Barossa is one I've heard of, but which I seldom seem to come across being wargamed.  

There are also chapters on campaign uniforms (with illustrations by Bob Marrion), notes on the difficulty of attacking squares, and a chapter on whether or not there should be special rules for British (I'm not tellin'!).  He also writes on the ad-hoc provisional units frequently fielded in the Peninsular War.

It would have been nice to have seen more actions involving the Spanish vs. the French (Bailen or the street fighting at Saragossa would have been a welcome inclusion), but as his miniatures collection is pretty much French and Anglo-Portuguese, I guess that is what we would get in the book!

I like Grant's writing style, and his approach to gaming.  The book is well illustrated with photos of his own collection of 28mm miniatures (many familiar Front Rank models, I was pleased to see).  There are lots of nice buildings and terrain in evidence, and his terrain is what I would call attractive yet workmanlike; while I enjoy those well-crafted terrain boards created for demonstration games at shows like Salute, Grant's gaming tabletops are clearly more functional.  Yet they remain visually appealing, and are far closer to what perhaps the vast majority of wargamers are used to gaming on.  

So lots of eye candy- I found myself itching to paint more of my own French (a Légion de Midi would be very attractive!)

It's not a cheap book, and a lot of people may find it more that what they want to pay.  But I regularly find myself re-reading all the books I have in this series, so for me at least the enjoyment I get out of them more than vindicates the money spent.  

I really want to try out his River Coa scenario one day.

Another book, this one pre-ordered but not yet out.  It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that I'm getting myself  a copy of Albion Triumphant, the latest Black Powder supplement by Warlord Games. It should prove a good source of ideas and motivation.

I am currently working on two posts at once for Serrez les Rangs.  This one, and a report on the game we had on November 25th.  I took a wad 'o photos that day, and it takes time just to edit them through iPhoto, not to mention the actual write up!  It looks like being be a pretty long report, so rather than have it taking up too much space here, I will upload it as a separate post sometime during the coming week.  

In the meantime, here are a few photo teasers.
"Forward, the Greys!!!"
"Forward, Les Bleus!!"
More to come, when I will reveal the tales of rabid Bavarians, suffering Scots, and humbled hussars.  Suffice to say for now it was a real challenge for both sides, with some really nail-biting moments!


As a matter of principle, I don't usually go for those kind of chain-lettery, mutual-congratulations love-ins that surface from time to time out there across the blogosphere.   However, today for the first -and maybe only- time I'm making an exception.

This is largely because I was honestly surprised and touched by the kind words from two antipodeans whose blogs I follow, "Rosbif" of the Monsieur le Rosbif & Johnny Frog blog, and by Scott from the aptly-named Scott's Wargaming Blog  when they nominated me for something called the Liebster awards.
Click on image to see Rosbif's blog!
I enjoy both their blogs, and it gives me pleasure that they would choose Serrez les Rangs as being worth a mention out of all the excellent blogs out there in the wargaming community.  In particular I was really pleased with Scott's comment, which I hope he doesn't mind me repeating here.
I am always so impressed with the amount and quality of Napoleonic work I see on the blog, and playing the rules I love for the period, Black Powder. I keep using this blog as inspiration to one day getting cracking on with my own Napoleonic forces!
This comment really means a lot to me, as over the years it was the enthusiasm generated by a number of wargaming sites on the Internet that helped me to maintain interest in the hobby, especially in my "wilderness years", the pre-West Tokyo Wargamers days in Japan, when it seemed all too likely as if the best of my wargaming days pretty much lay behind me.  

It's always nice to be appreciated, and the fact that people can find themselves getting similarly motivated about wargaming the Napoleonic period as a result of our own efforts here in Tokyo tells me we've been doing something right. 

And of course this blog wouldn't be possible without the efforts of the guys here at the club who provided the troops, terrain, and the enthusiasm.   I've been very fortunate indeed to find myself gaming in a foreign land with a bunch of guys who have pretty much the same gaming philosophy as I have.  Any accolade given belongs very much to them, as it does to me.

So, it is my turn to nominate my own candidates for the Leibster award.  I need to pass the award one to my top five favourite blogs- they must have fewer than 200 followers- and to leave a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award, and to list them in my favourites.  No particular order, 

Sole Member of the Napoleonics Connoisseur Club:  I just love the look of the games that David in Sweden puts on.  Nice blog design too.  Looks like he's not so alone these days. 

Page of Sada's Hobby: Sada is of course one of the West Tokyo Wargamers, so yes, nepotism!  But aside from being an amazing painter and modeller (his Napoleonic ships are marvels to behold),  you have to give him credit for his willingness and effort to maintain a blog in English.  He is fast becoming a standard bearer of the hobby here in Japan to an international audience. 

WWII Central: I have always enjoyed WWII wargaming and modelling, and there is considerable modelling skill evident in this blog.  Puts my own efforts to shame, but inspires me to try harder! 

Service Ration Distribution Hobby: home of some of the most entertaining -and really funny- battle reports out there.  I come back to this one again and again.   

Sparker's Wargames: Sparker games on a big scale, and his enthusiasm really comes through. Napoleonics done in a big way.  A right Jack Tar, his nautical references are often lost on this landlubber, despite the fact that my mother was in the WRNS and my father a Royal Marine.  Great site.

These are just five, pretty much randomly picked as there are many, many other blogs I enjoy out there, so if yours isn't included here, don't feel slighted!


Sadaharu Ichikawa said...

I am honorable to choose me.
Thank you very much.

Rosbif said...

You're right, Robert; they are pretty meaningless "awards", but sometimes it's nice just to recognise others for work that you enjoy reading when the opportunity arises. Glad you made the exception this time!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I look forward to seeing the battle report. The teaser pictures look wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Liebster. I'm looking forward to seeing the full AAR. The teaser pictures look wonderful.

Robert said...

Actually Rosbif, on reading what I wrote again it sounded harsher than I had intended, and it must have sounded quite ungrateful.

But a few years back I was on the receiving end of a huge mess of spam that had masqueraded as an award, so I've regarded the things with a healthy dose of suspicion ever since, not wanting to find myself ending up on a spammer's email list.

But you are right, it is always good to recognize others and to "spread the word", and I'm very happy that you and others have enjoyed my blog as much as I have enjoyed yours!

John de Terre Neuve said...

I believe the awards are a little foolish, but one thing they do is spread info about blogs one has not heard about.

Great looking photos by the way.

David Dormvik said...

Thank you Robert, very kind of you!

Scott said...

Richly deserved Robert!

I too am intrigued by Albion Triumphant, though am more a Waterloo man than a Penninsular one!

I look forward to the battle report :-)

Der Feldmarschall said...

Looks like our recent book shoppping has been very similar Robert. ;-) Looking forward to the battle report, and congrats on the award.

You blog is definitely one of the sites that helped inspire my own as well as taking the plunge into 28mm Napoleonics despite having no foreseeable partners in crime. Like you at first in Tokyo, and Dave in Sweden, my Prussians were set to be very lonely.

"Build it and they will come" you said, well I'm happy to report my friend Eric has acquired a French army and we're set to launch our little 1813 project very soon. So hopefully we'll be able to give back to the community that helped inspire us. :-)


Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) said...

Thanks for your nomination. If awarded such prestige I vow to solve the middle east crisis, re-jig the world economy and have all international military tensions resolved by eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

Achilles said...

Great pictures Robert! Gongrats on receiving that award and most of all thank you for bringing the new Black Powder book to my attention! I almost didn't see that coming! (although I would prefer the 100 days or the Russian campaign...)

Looking forward to your battle report!