In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Black Powder Blues

I've been chanting the no new periods, no new scales mantra pretty hard these last two years.

I mean I have enough ancients, medieval, WW2 and Colonial figures stockpiled to keep me painting for quite some time even without commission work getting in the way.

Then 15mm SF has to burst forth with a dazzling array of really nice figures from a variety of manufacturers to fuel my desire to play platoon to company sized 'hard' SF actions inspired by the TV show Firefly and the Falkenberg's Legion stories and the novels Fire in a Far Away Place and A Small Colonial War. Everytime I try to think small, like I'll just get a platoon per side, I fall victim to OSS the Oh Shiney Syndrome and start adding vehicles and aircraft to the list and another platoon and then other factions or races and well... you know.

Fortunately this would mean starting entirely from scratch; terrain, rules, figures, everything. I've also realized I'm pretty fussy about my imaginary games and if I can't provide both sides and the terrain I don't want anyone else mucking about in my imaginary worlds with their strange ideas about what fits, thank you very much. Thus far then I've been able to keep this particular monkey off of my back.

I've also been seriously jonesing to do some horse and musket again. Fueled by the awfully nice releases from Perry Miniatures as featured in the Black Powder rule book.

Plus I like Napoleonics (they are just too damned pretty) and 28mm figures.

I have an embryonic 28mm Napoleonic Russian army that I got cheap at the Hotlead Bring & Buy a few years ago. But it's only four 16 figure battalions and one gun. I'd need another 8 to 12 plus cavalry and guns to make a decent Black Powder army. In the meantime they could be used for the smaller scale Sharp Practice rules though.

But it would be a much bigger investment in money and time, and Mike is the only friend around here who has 28mm Napoleonics. I'd need to have him and his French available if I wanted to play for a while (it would be quite some time before I could build my own French army).

We used to play a lot of Warfare in the Age of Reason in 15mm. Barry has an appallingly large Reichsarmee, plus French and British. I've got the Prussians. Sadly Scott had to sell off his Austrians to pay some bills.

I think our armies have grown so large (I've got 17 or 18 infantry battalions and 7 regiments of cavalry) that we broke Age of Reason. It would take forever to set up, then the cavalry would fight on the wings and just as the infantry lines came to grips it was time to go home. So we don't play very much anymore. Maybe once a year.

So I'm really hoping that Black Powder will solve those problems and let us play big horse and musket battles to a conclusion in the three to four hours we usually have. So far we've played four games of BP in other periods and I've enjoyed them all. But getting together with Barry's army has been a challenge. My schedule right now precludes Saturday evenings or Sundays and Friday nights don't work for Barry.

I found in my stash of unpainted miniatures a pretty good start on a 15mm Austrian army. I think I took them in trade for some painting from Scott, intending to use them as Saxons and then forgot them. If I paint them up I'd have an economical in-house opponent for the Prussians. Really they just need some hussars and dragoons. I've got a start on everything else; musketeers, grenadiers, LOTS of pandours, 40+ cuirassiers and an assortment of artillery.

Of course I'm already thinking more musketeers and limbers and ammunition caissons and supply wagons and they'll need some generals and.... oh look, shiney!


  1. Good luck resisting that 15mm sci-fi lure. I have much the same taste in that vein (Pournelle's Falkenberg would kick Drake's Hammer's ass any day of the week). Throw in Heinlein's MI, and there you have it: sci-fi gaming nerdvana.

  2. So far the complete lack of any decent disposable income precludes launching an entirely new project. I have access to discounted figures from RAFM, but their 15mm SF line is limited. But someday I would like to try it using some asymmetrical warfare rules like AK-47 Republic or Charlie Don't Surf.

  3. For your SYW miniatures, have you looked at Might & Reason, by Sam Mustafa? You wouldn't need to rebase, as everything is measured in base-widths, and playing time is very reasonable (our pickup game last night was 3.5-4 hours.
    Cheers, Colin in San Diego

  4. No I haven't. I didn't really like his "Grande Armee" rules.