Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wizard Craft Terrain Kickstarter

Wizard Kraft makes what are, for my tastes, simple the best rivers for wargames ever made. I bought my first set at Historicon, circa 2001, and added to it several times when their product appeared there in subsequent years. Then the product became hard to find, but a couple of years back it resurfaced, and I bought up almost all of it that they in stock on their on line store. The fact that it was a side business rather than a full time enterprise continued to make it difficult to obtain. The owner and fabricator, William Werts, has launched a Kickstarter to take Wizard Kraft from a  hobby to a real business, and in so doing, improve production time and add a host of new products. This is fantastic news, and I would urge you to consider supporting this kickstarter. It is the FIRST one that I have ever backed, and at the $150 level. 

Unfortunately, to date the funding of the project is off to a slow start. While I think the guy makes an outstanding product (still more about that later), I don't think he has much of a clue about marketing his business... not that that's any strength of mine, either, I might add. So this post is an effort to boost the project, both out of my own selfish desire to see more Wizard Kraft product for my own use, and my desire for many of you not to miss out on the chance to get some for yourself as well. I have no connection to the business nor  Mr. Werts whatsoever, aside from that of a very happy, long term customer. I would decline any compensation for my support if it were offered. 


Here is my entire collection of Wizard Kraft terrain (rivers) laid out - about 18 feet of 2" rivers, and about 6 feet of 4" Rivers.  Note the ford pieces, Y junctions, curves, and end pieces. Note also the variations in the "straight" and curved pieces. Some of my 28 mm figures are included for scale. The felt is bumpy because I have some of it folded under in prep for a game next week, and set this up rather quickly. 


Another view of the collection. These rivers are the default version, Deep Blue with Temperate flock (mixed green, very close to the color of green Geohex flock, if not identical).  The rivers will be available in widths of 1/2", 1" 2", 4" and 8" (!). The straight sections will generally be 12" in length, but 4 and 8" sections will be available as well. But wait, there's more, as they say in the ad-biz. "You will be able to select the type of flocking on the shore area from Temperate (mixed green) or Arid (mixed earth). The water can also be selected as Deep Blue, Muddy, Dry Bed, Dry Bed w/pools or Dry Bed merge to Deep Blue or Muddy."


The individual pieces are made of a thin, moderately flexible plastic, that is dark brown and slightly shiny on the unfinished side. The edges are flocked in an exceptionally durable manner. Despite many of these pieces being 15 years old, and having been baked in the 100+ degree heat in my car for days at at time at successive Historicons, (and freezing temperatures at other events), AND rough handling being shoved into my storage boxes after games, there has been NO cracking or peeling whatsoever, and not a bit of the flock has rubbed off anywhere! The brown tan mix of the transition from grass to water is made of an almost cork like material with substantial texture. Not  a bit of that has come off, either! The "water" as you can see has color variations from dark to medium blue, with a bit of a dry brush like detailing in off white for surface effects. Although you really can't see it in the pictures. the "water" surface has an almost cobblestone like pattern in the plastic, which makes it more water like as well. 


Although I don't own any, evidently dirt road sets already exists as well. You can see some of them in this post by fellow blogger and Wizard Kraft aficionado, Jake. The plan is to add cobblestone roads, swamps, beaches, fields, and more to the range. In the updates section, Bill comments "Backers from across the pond in the UK have decided to get in on this project. Thanks for support[ing] me. And to note, no shipping will be charged on any backer rewards." Now, in all honesty, I am not quite sure if that means no shipping on the entire amount of product from your KS pledge, so if you have questions about that, "ask Bill".

From the Kickstarter page:

Early Bird Specials:

First 30 backers of $25.00 or more will also receive a swamp (6" to 8" diameter)
First 20 backers of $75.00 or more will receive a 12" long ford straight plus the above early bird item.
First 10 backers of $150.00 or more will receive a left and right merge for the size of river they choose for their backer reward and the above early bird items.
First 5 backers of $250.00 or more will receive a swamp river set (river ending in swamp and river passing through swamp) and the above early bird items.

As of this writing, ALL of these "early bird" rewards are still available, although many are close to being closed.

There are literally 100's of pictures on my blog showing these rivers in use if you need to see more of them in different settings. I once again give this product my highest possible recommendation, and have already voted with my credit card, LOL!  If you are all interested in great rivers and some other exciting sounding products, consider backing Bill in this Kickstarter! I expect it will be years before you see me back another Kickstarter of any kind, but this one involves an already proven, outstanding product. As they say in Klingon. Qapla'!, gentlemen!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lost and Found (flags), and British Dragoon/DG facing tables

    The lost GMB flags for my British cavalry have surfaced, and those appropriate to the three Dragoon/Dragoon Guard regiments have been bestowed upon them with all due pomp and ceremony... As well as some white glue! There was probably some karma at work here. The post on the Canaanite army that Ken gifted me with has been in the "must do" queue for quite some time, and I finally got around to it. When I opened the Really Useful Box that I had them stored in, it had some "in process" figures within, and in my pre Historicon preparations, I found that I had swept the flags into the box as well, as I knew the cavalry was at the top of the list to do after the convention. Lost flags -  found!


Here they are in their splendor! The flags of the Dragoon Guards are square, like those of the Life Guards and the Horse Guards, because the Dragoon Guards descended from the regiments of Horse, which were heavy cavalry, while the Dragoon regiments have the swallow tail guidons associated with their arm of service. as noted previously, few if any British cavalry regiments carried any of their flags in the filed after 1812, but not so for my lads!


The 3rd (Prince of Wakes) Dragoon Guards standard  has a white field and gold fringe, in keeping with the regiment's white facing and yellow lace. The three feathered cap of the regiment's namesake is prominent, if less easily distinguished due to the white feathers on a white field.


The 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons have the usual guidon shaped flag. In British cavalry regiments, the first squadron caries the Kings standard, and each of the other squadrons has a regimental flag. Ordinarily, the King's standard has a crimson field, whereas the regimental flags have their fields in the facing color. Since I like the aesthetics of the flags matching the facings, most of my regiments carry their Regimental colors. I will use some of the left over King's colors for units that GMB doesn't list flags for. 


The guidon of the 3rd (Queen's Own) Dragoons is a very bluish green, almost a turquoise hue. The Hamilton-Smith diagrams show the green if this regiment as being a rather dull shade more towards the yellow than the blue end of the spectrum, which is how I painted them. In keeping with the unit's white lace, the fringe is silver.


British Dragoons and Dragoon Guards, 1803 - 1812
Unit
Title
Facings
Lace
1st Dragoon Guards
King’s
Dark Blue
Gold
2nd Dragoon Guards
Queen’s
Black
Silver
3rd Dragoon Guards
Prince of Wales’s
White
Gold
4th Dragoon Guards
Royal Irish
Dark Blue
Silver
5th Dragoon Guards
Princess Charlotte f Wales
Green
Gold
6th Dragoon Guards
Carabiniers
White
Silver
7th Dragoon Guards
Prince Royal’s
Black
Gold
1st Dragoons
Royal
Dark Blue
Gold
2nd Dragoons
Royal North British
Dark Blue
Gold*
3rd Dragoons
King’s Own
Dark Blue
Gold
4th Dragoons
Queen’s Own
Green
Silver
5th Dragoons
vacant
--
--
6th Dragoons
Inniskilling
Yellow
Silver
* white lace for men

British Dragoons and Dragoon Guards, 1812
Unit
Title
Facings
Lace $
1st Dragoon Guards
King’s
Dark Blue
Yellow
2nd Dragoon Guards
Queen’s
Black
White
3rd Dragoon Guards
Prince of Wales’s
White @
Yellow
4th Dragoon Guards
Royal Irish
Dark Blue
White
5th Dragoon Guards
Prncs Charlotte of Wales's
Green
Yellow
6th Dragoon Guards
Carabiniers
White
White
7th Dragoon Guards
Prince Royal’s
Black
Yellow
1st Dragoons
Royal
Dark Blue
Yellow
2nd Dragoons
Royal North British
Dark Blue
White*
3rd Dragoons
King’s Own
Dark Blue
Yellow
4th Dragoons
Queen’s Own
Green #
White
5th Dragoons
vacant
--
--
6th Dragoons
Inniskilling
Yellow
White
$ Officer’s lace was gold or silver
@ 3rd D.G. changed facings to blue in 1815, then yellow in 1819
* Officer’s lace gold; men’s lace white until 1813, then yellow
#  sometimes described as blue-green

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Battle of Montgomery, 1644 - Conclusion

    We pick up the action with the start of Royalist Turn 5. The Royalists once again lead off with their (now diminished) right wing cavalry forces.


Things don't go so well for the King's Men here. The Red Horse attempt to turn 90 degrees to the right to threaten the flanks of the distant Parliamentary Horse, but fail with a 2; the accompanying General replays the card with an 8, so the wheel does at last succeed. The Blue Horse really need to turn to face their attackers to get out of their "charged in flank dilemma. This requires a 3+, and they turn an Ace. "Bad luck, old bean". The Cavalry are done for turn 5. 


Next the Royalist Dragoons activate.  forward 1 box into the marshy terrain on a 5, shoot on a 6, They miss with a 7 played , and fail their attempt to shoot again with a 5. On to the Royalist infantry (not shown). The Blue Foot is on the flank (diagonally) of the Purple Regiment of Roundhead foot, and attempts to charge it in the flank. An Ace is played, and the accompanying General replays the card with... another Ace. Royalist Turn 5 is over, just like that! This isn't good for the Cause!


Parliament starts with its Cavalry command; the pursuing Lobsters MUST be activated first, which they do (6), abn hit the Blue Horse in the flank. They Hit with one card (8), but miss with their bonus card for the flank attack (3). The Blue Horse fail to Save (^ - needed a 7), and become Disordered, and also miss on their strike back (3). The Mixed Horse then successfully move forward 2 boxes (10).   

The Lobsters attempt to charge again but fail (Ace); the accompanying General replays, and is lucky to draw a 10, which succeeds. Having made a successful non pursuit Activation, their Pursuit marker is removed. They once again play 2 to Hit cards, with one miss (7, being Disordered they need an 8+), and one Hit (9). The Blue Horse Save (10), and again miss on their strike back (4). The Lobsters attempt to charge again, not surprisingly, failed (2, not shown); they woukld have needed another 10 to succeed. The Roundhead Cavalry wing is done for Turn 5. 


The Orange Regiment of Foote fires twice (4) at the Green Regt of Foote opposite, expanding 1 Ammo, and scoring 2 hits (9,9). The Greenies manage to Save once (7), but not a second time. As the unit already had 2 hits, it is destroyed and removed from play - three Victory Medals to Parliament Ouch. Those Orange guys are a pain in the proverbial posterior!


The Purple Regt of Foote Tries to Rally, and succeeds with the aid of a General (Ace, replayed activation as 5, needs 6+ to Rally, and turns a 6).



The Brown Regiment of Foote fires (5) twice into the Cavalier Yellow Foote Regiment opposite it, expending 1 Ammo. They score 1 hit (9, 6, needing an 8+ to hit), but the Yellowbellies and their General both Save (9, 4).


 The Purple Regiment's attempt to Fire at the Black Regiment of Foote to their front fails (2, not shown. The General's replay has already been used for this Turn), so the Infantry is done. 


The Army C-in-C makes a Command Move to join the Yellow Horse, and then they move one box to the side in difficult terrain (6, requiring a 4+). Their attempt to charge the Dragoons in the marshy ground fails (5, General replay 6 - they needed an 8+), Turn 5 is over!


Situation at the end of Turn 5, as seen from the Royalist Right...


and from their Left. The Royalists have lost 2 Regiments of Horse and one of Foote for 7 Victory Medals (out of 11 needed for the army to break), While the Parliamentarians have lost 2 Regiments of Horse for 4 Victory Medals (out of their 9 breakpoint). 


The Cavaliers start Turn 6 by moving the Red Horse forward 1 across the river (8).
I am now using my i-phone instead of my i-pad for the pictures; I though the i-pad might have a better camera, but in fact it is unwieldy to use for these shots and hard to steady; the phone pictures are actually far superior. 


The Blue Horse successfully turn right to face off against the Lobsters to their flank.


The Red Horse attempt to charge the flank of the Lobsters, but fail to activate, even with the General throwing in his influence. 


The Blue Foote barely manage to charge the flank of the Purple Foote, succeeding only with the intervention of their General.


The Blue Foote Hit twice (7, 7), and the Purple Foote fail to save twice (Ace, 2). The Purple Foote battle back - and hit (9)! The General Saves (3), but the Blue Foote take a hit themselves (Ace). 


The Royalist General makes a Command Move from the Yellow to the Black foot, which then charges the Purple foot, trying to eliminate them. However, they Miss (3), and the beleaguered and Disordered Grapemen also fail in their strike back (3). 


The Yellow Foote Shoot twice (5) at the Roundhead Brown Foote, scoring 1 hit (8, Ace) and expending 1 Ammo; the Browns save (8). 


The Blue Foote charges the flank of the Purple Foote again (10), but misses twice (3,7), being Disordered, and the Purple foot miss on their strike back as well (2).


The White Regiment moves one box to the side (5, not shown), placing it in front of the Orange Parliamentary Foote, and then the Black Foote attempts to charge the Purples again, but fails to activate , regardless of their Generals exhortations (2,4).


The Royalist Dragoons shoot once (8) at the Yellow cavalry, but miss (5), and fail in their attempt to shoot. again (Ace). Being "out" (low) of Ammo, they can only shoot once per activation, and only at a unit in the box directly to their front. The Royalist segment of Turn 6 is over. 


The Parliamentary Mixed Horse Regiment charges the flank of the Royalist Black Foote (7).


In the ensuing Melee, the Horse hot twice (8, 10), but the Black Foote Save twice (9, 10). The Cavalier General however is hit once (Ace, 4). Another card played for him (4, not shown), which indicates that he is stunned by a blow to the head, and thus unable to function for this turn and the next. The Black Foote's attempt to strike back at the Horse misses (3). 


The Lobsters attempt to rally (5, needed a 4+ to activate for same due to being in charge range of 2 enemy units and no Gallant Gentleman attached), but fail to do so (3).


The Mixed Horse attempt to Charge again but fail (7). 
The Roundhead cavalry are thus finished for the turn.


The Purple Foote attempts to Rally (7), and succeeds (9); one hit removed. 


The Brown Foote shoots (3) at the Yellow Foote, missing twice (5,3) and expending one Ammo. 


The Purple Foote, threatened by 2 units to its flank, attempts to form Hedgehog, but fails (7, General replay 8 - they needed a 9+ to succeed).


The Parliamentary Yellow Horse Charge (7) through the swamp and score a hit (10) on the enemy Dragoons, but they Save (10). The Dragoons miss on their strike back (4). The General makes a Command Move to join the Orange Foote.  A second charge attempt fails (8, not shown - a 9+ was needed due the swamp). 


Situation at the end of Turn 6.


Same from the other end of the Battlefield. 


The Royalist Red Horse starts off Turn 7 by charging the Lobsters in the flank. The General considers replaying the card (looking for a lower number for subsequent activations) but is unwilling to risk turning an Ace. 


In the ensuing melee, the Red Horse score 1 hit (10, 3). The Lobsters fail to save and are thus destroyed./ The General fails to save as well (Ace); another card os played -a 5, indicating a light wound.He is displaced to the nearest friendly unit. Another such wound will remove him form play. 

The Red Horse will have to pursue next turn.  The General makes a Command Move to join the Blue Horse, who then attempt to wheel 180 degrees and move 1 box, and succeed (3). 


The Blue Horse are unable to make a Rally attempt, failing to activate (2, General Replay 3). 


The Blue Foote activate to Rally (5), but their attempt fails (6; they are trained and need 7+. Had they been a Veteran outfit, the 6 would have worked).  The Black Foote charge the still Disordered Purple Foote (6). 


However, the fail to hit (3), with their enemies doing no better (2). 


The Blue foot attempt to Rally again (6), but fail in the attempt again (6 - "why couldn't we be Veterans, eh Milord?!")


The White Foote is Out of Command, but still manages to shoot twice at the Orange Foote (5), scoring 1 Hit (9,1). The General Saves (2, but the Foote does not (5). 1 Ammo expended. An attempt to shoot again fails (3, not shown). 


The Royalist Dragoons, who are "out (low) on Ammo shoot (9) once at the Yellow Cavalry and Hits (8). They fail to save (3), but the Gallant Gentleman is untouched (4, not shown. A second attempt to fire fails (3). 


Overview of the Battle and the end of the Royalist segment of Turn 7.


The Mixed Horse attempt to Rally (8), but fail to do so (6, needed a 7+). 


They then decide to put some distance between themselves and the Blue Horse on their tail, and move 2 boxes ahead, with the encouragement of Sir Thomas (2, replayed to a 10). An attempt to wheel 90 degrees to the right fails (4).


The Purple Foote attempt to Rally (4) but do not succeed (2). 


They then attempt to form Hedgehog, and succeed with supervision by their General (failed 4 replayed to a 10). 


The Brown Regiment of Foote, "out" of ammo, takes 1 shot (2) at the Yellow Foote, but misses (2), as (4) does a second round of fire (5).


The Orange Foote, also "out" of Ammo, fires (3) once at the White Foote, but misses (Ace). Their powder low, they cannot get off another shot (Ace). 


The Yellow Horse's attempt to charge the Dragoons bogs down (2, needed 3+).


Situation at the end of Turn 7.


Royalists start Turn 8 with the mandatory Pursuit Move (6) by the Red cavalry - forward 1 box. Thw Blue cavalry then chases their Roundhead counterparts (7),  moving straight 2 boxes. 


The Blue Horse want to rally, but Fail to activate, even with the General prodding them (2, 2).


The Blue Foot want to rally; they turn a 10; as he has more plans for them the General chooses to replay the card, getting a 6. The attempt, however fails (a 6 yet again - "will we count as Veteran next game, Guv?") 


The Black Foote activates to shoot (5), and expends an Ammo to shoot twice - One hit, one Miss (8, 4), but the Purple Foote fail to save (2). They now have 2 hits. One more, and they will be destroyed!


"Out" of Ammo, the Black Foote decides to charge the Purple Foote's Hedgehog (6). They score a hit and the Grapecoats fail to Save it (Ace). With three hits, the unit is Lost.


And with that, Gentlemen, the Foote is the Game, as it were! The Parliamentarians have lost 9 Victory Medals (3 units of Horse at 2 each, and one unit of Foote at 3). That is just over 1/3 of their starting total, so they must concede, doubtless withdrawing sullenly across the bridge. 


I enjoyed the game a lot; there are still some minor rules questions to answer and a tweak or to to be made, but overall the game seems solid. It felt like an ECW battle. My veteran Minifigs, many of which are 40+ years old, were very happy to stretch their legs as well!