Friday, July 17, 2009

"Sketching In" a Period

While I was working in my "man space" today I had a visitor in the form of the young son of a customer of my wife's who was buying yarn up in the front (believe it or not, my gaming space is in the back storeroom of a yarn shop!?) I had given him some AWI 54mm plastics and a few buildings a while ago and I think the miniatures bug may have bitten. He was pretty quiet and taking it all in but I'm guessing the "wheels are turning"...his mom may let him visit this blog...if so, welcome!

Anyway I was working on my colonials table and experimenting with the cardboard flats described on the Major General's page in the terrain section. Since my game space is essentially in a shipping room, corrugated cardboard is in generous supply and I was spending the afternoon doing what I call "sketching"...which is essentially laying out figures and terrain and seeing what options I have given my available terrain and in this case trying out a quick method for dividing up a small table to make the apparent length greater. The guys at the Major General's page suggest a really clever method using cardboard flats arranged in such a way as to essentially double the table's length. Just the ticket for those colonial punitive column scenarios. I just grabbed some stuff off the floor of the shipping room and started cutting. The result is crude (like a sketch) but lays out the essentials in a way that can guide future improvements. In the meantime...well... I can start gaming!

Egyptian column works its way up a rocky valley with a troop of Bengal lancers scouting ahead

I also dug up a fortified tower from my old NW Frontier terrain to use as an intermediate objective for the column. The tower is a bit large for the small table but I have a remedy in the wings. I was lucky enough to win on ebay one of the Pressman Weapons and Warriors game sets that contain some really marvelous stuff that can be used readily for colonial gaming. So in addition to converting a couple of pirate dhows (as described on the Major General's page) I have a nice plastic arab stronghold (small tower) to paint up soon...all of these development to be posted as they are completed.

One of the most wonderful elements of the Major Generals page is the way their scenarios are played out on REALLY small tables, yet they are able to capture a sense of a much larger world that the game is occurring in. My favorites are those scenarios that are laid out on a small oval dining table. Also much appreciated is the flexible approach to historical opponents...with the most interesting scenarios being historically based but fictitious nonetheless. Really inventive and amazingly inspiring stuff!

In the meantime some images of my "table "sketches"...

I really like those background hills out of cheap cardboard...hmm...if I paint those up in a little green I might be able to solve my background problem for my 18th century stuff and ECW as well.

The pics if find also help to figure out what needs improving, like those old beat up styrofoam hill pieces got a little paint touch up today.

I'm using The Sword and the Flame rules as my base set but I also ordered the new edition of Piquet called "Field of Battle" so as to have another avenue for solo play.


tradgardmastare said...

Inspiring stuff- 2d scenery most interesting idea too ...
best wishes
p.s you have inspired me to persevere with the limited table size I have at home- dining room table...

Bluebear Jeff said...

I built some of the hills as suggested by the Major General . . . only I used 30mm strips of MDF to create "sniping positions" so that figures on 1" bases could be easily positioned.

The hills were about three levels deep and were in turn mounted on about a 4" wide strip of MDF for nice secure terrain units. They worked wonderfully both as practical hills and as photo backgrounds . . . unfortunately when we moved to Canada I had to leave them behind . . . *sigh*.

For those who haven't visited the Major General's website, I urge you to do so and explore it. Here's the URL:

-- Jeff

Bluebear Jeff said...

I have posted a few photos of my "mountains" on my blog:

I think that you will find them useful.

-- Jeff

littlejohn said...

Thanks Jeff!

Fitz-Badger said...

Thanks Jeff and Littlejohn! great stuff! I like the "sketch" idea, too. I'm another gamer with limited table space so any inspiration in that direction helps a lot. :-D
(I have looked at the General's site in the past - looks like it's time for a refresher visit)

Bluebear Jeff said...

Here's a link to a page with a lot of rules referenced:

Just in case you want to look at a few others.

-- Jeff