My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I just returned from MAG-Con II in North Houston, TX and I have to say I had fun. All in all I was able to:

  • Play a game of NUTS!.
  • Demonstrate a game of Song of Drums and Shakos using my 42mm Napoleonic wooden soldiers. (Blog on preparing for the convention and the battle report.)
  • Play a game of Sharp Practice.
  • Demonstrate a game of Flying Lead using WW II figures.
  • Coach a new player in a game of Memoir 44. I think I irritated the opponent of the person I was coaching, but oh well. He really did not know the rules that well, so they both really needed coaching.
I like conventions because you can try out new rules that you are interested in, but are not sure if you want to commit the time and money into a new set of rules or period. As I have played Chain Reaction and a number of other Two Hour Wargames rules, I was fairly sure what NUTS! would be like, but I never bothered to pick up the rules. I mean, once you have Chain Reaction, which Ed gave away for free, you have pretty much all of the modern weapons so why would you need NUTS!?

Well, it turns out that the reason is the same for any period-specific set of THW rules: you buy them for the campaign system and the stats on some of the lesser used weapons, like tanks. Like all THW products it suffers from editing, but is usable once you ask the right clarifying questions on the Yahoo forum.

I really like the scenario books so far, but given the obvious editing errors I see just reading it, I won't know if they contain any key missing items until I try to play them. Then I'll go to the forum and look to see if the question has been asked and answered first, then start marking up my copy.

I'll try a post a battle report of the NUTS! game, but I don't have many usable photos and the scenario went pretty quick. But the board was absolutely a knock-out, as were the figures.

I have had the rules Sharp Practice for a while, and even bought the two AWI scenario books, but could never get through the rules. The game I played really helped me understand the basics and give me a foundation for re-reading the rules. I've already started asking questions on the TFL forum so I can better understand the finer points.

I am not sure I will post a battle report of the Sharp Practice game as I have no photos of it. Getting my head handed to me has absolutely nothing to do with it...

The game of Flying Lead was a hoot, especially as it involved fast moving vehicles with machine guns, run by hyperactive kids, and supervised by adults who said "sure, I'll let you make that move". I have some good photos of that game and it would make a great battle report. It is not often you see jeeps crashing into trees and halftracks running over soldiers, after all.

There were no pictures of the Memoir 44 game (that I have), but I do have these others. First up is a board Hill built. My understanding is that he took the rules, resolution charts, etc. from a Lock & Load board game and converted it to 1/285th scale miniatures. It was a great looking board, and had four to five players.

Next is a board used for the Frontline Command WW II rules from Frontline Games and sold at Battlemart. Those are 28mm scale, resin buildings, all with removable tops folks (which are also sold on the Battlemart site) for the Battle for the Tractor Factory at Stalingrad. I didn't get to play in that one either. (My suitcase was heavy enough with Battlemart goodies. More on that later.)

Here is Willy's table for 6mm Napoleonic gaming. We played the Sharp Practice game on a board similar to this. As you can see, he has nice buildings, fences, hedges, roads, haystacks, and woods. The larger trees in the rear are from Dollar Tree and I think he said $1 for two trees. Will have to go hunt for some.

Finally, something I have looked at the box of and wondered if I should buy, but never did because of a review, these are the two Wings of War vinyl mats you can get. They look very nice and the cards mesh well on them. The surface is a little slick, as the review said, but less so than the table tops or blankets we generally play on. Maybe the next time Pyramid Comics and Games has a 50% off sale I will pick these up.

Well, that is it "from the convention floor" (and several days later). I hope the next MAG-Con gets as good or a better turn-out. We need to turn this economy around so that the vendors will feel there is more of a reason to come next time, as I got the impression that sales were down and lower than expected.

As a final note, my condolences to Justo, as I understand that a family member of his passed and he had to miss the very convention he spent so much time organizing and promoting.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").