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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cold Wars Report (5)

Welcome to new reader Bob. I hope you enjoy the blog.

If you are wondering what happened to Cold Wars reports 3 and 4 you can find them on my Dale's DBA blog, as they were DBA related. Report 3 is on Bob Beattie's War of the Worlds game using HOTT and report 4 is on my participation in a 25mm DBA tournament.

Here are the remaining pictures that I have that were from when I was wandering around. Again, as this is "Year of the Terrain" for me, I focused on the boards and less on the troops.

Bruce Weigle's 6mm Austro-Prussian War gameMore 6mm APW
I always heard that Bruce Weigle's boards were really good looking and I think that these pictures do not do them justice. I wonder how he moves units through woods? Does he put the figures on top? The board does look like an aerial photograph though. Just outstanding work!

WAB TournamentWAB Tournament
Okay, this is less about the terrain and more about the troops! I thought the armies presented really well. It would be nice to have a grand collection of 28mm figures like that.

Warrior game with lots of elephantsAnother big game of Warrior
Two large games of Warrior ("WRG 7th edition"), well attended by people. I could not wrap my brain around the rules (which I own), but boy did all of thos figures look nice. 28mm figures really show well.

Grid-based FPW GameWeird War II Aerial Game
The grid-based Franco-Prussian War game looked just fantastic. Now that is what I would like my board to look like. I like the grids (I wanted to peek at what he used for the tiles) and even though you can see the demarcations, it does not detract from the aesthetics of the game. By the way, he was using modified Square Bashing rules. This was one game that I wanted to play it, but it conflicted with another game I was signed up for. Unfortunately, he only had one game that weekend.

The Weird War II aerial game looked interesting. It had pterodactyls with rocket engines and German crosses on their wings, and guys with rocket packs escorting the bombers. I took the picture because I wanted to remember the look. I think the stands are very distracting. I can also see someone bumping one and it knocking others over like dominoes. I think I would be too paranoid reaching in that forest of wires to play that game.

WW II Pacific Island AssaultVictory Under Sail
The Pacific island assault looked very nice. I was rushing off for lunch and the Game Master (GM) asked me if I wanted to try it out (it looked like he was missing a lot of Japanese players), but I told him that I had a game coming up. His reply: "Don't worry, you won't last that long in this game!" Hmmm. Not that sounds like the convention game spirit.

Last is Victory Under Sail by Stan Sunderwirth. Boy, was that an impressive collection of miniatures. And the board was huge! You can't really see it in the photo, but each ship (there were about 150 of them) was on a base and had roughly eight little pins pushed into the hand-drilled holes of the base. You use tweezers to pull pins out as the ship is damaged, and place beads on the pins to show extra sail and such. Talk about lots of fiddly bits! I wonder how many pins, beads, and cubes (hit markers) he loses each convention? Believe it or not, he ran this (scheduled-for-six-hours) game three times over the weekend. That is dedication.

I played Victory Under Sail on Sunday (we were the last game to finish, as far as I can tell) and I liked a lot about it. And I am not saying that just because I won "Most Valuable Player" in the game. (I really just won the die roll. I don't think I was all that valuable even though my 1/3rd of the fleet did take on 2/3rds of the enemy fleet!) The movement system makes innovative use of a hex grid in order to move along twelve lines (not six), making turns and speeds to the wind much more refined than typical hex games. And given that it was on a grid, there really is no argument about which way you are to the wind, or whether you are 5mm outside of gunnery range, "so too bad, no shot".

I really liked Stan's concept of fleet signals, which worked in two ways. The first was a set of cards – one light colored and one darker – where you would choose one of each, representing the orders of your squadron. The darker one would be signals like "Fall Away From the Wind", "Haul Towards the Wind", "Ahead", and so one, while the lighter one would be either "Together" or "In Succession". The "Together" card meant that all following the signal needed to perform the maneuver that turn, while "In Succession" meant that each ship following the signal would do so when they hit a waypoint placed on the board.

The second form of signals was a sheet that the player filled out each turn and consisted of five blanks, one for each word in the message. Theoretically each player was not supposed to confer with the others, except through five word messages. Fun concept, but not very useful when you have so many new players learning the game. It did come into play, however, when the enemy's Admiral decided he would use the signal log at the court-martial of one of his squadron commanders who decided to ignore a critical signal.

I wish I had pictures of the game, but to be honest, I was spent. It was all I could do to game. I really did enjoy Victory Under Sail and have started dabbling in my own Age of Sail rules.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cold Wars Report (2)

Game 2 - Fantasy Mass Battle (Pride of Lions)

I was never really sure whether Ganesha Games published Pride of Lions or not, as it announced these rules when they came out, and sold them on their web site, but it was made clear that: a) they were not based on the Song of Blades and Heroes engine, and b) Ganesha Games was working on its own mass fantasy battle rules, Song of Armies and Hordes. Well, I am pretty sure that Ganesha Games is just a distributor, given the relationship between them and the author, who is also author of Song of the Splintered Lands.

Pride of Lions is a mass fantasy rules set that uses units consisting of multiple figures on bases, several bases per unit. Battles can be quite large and use lots of figures. Combat is unit to unit, but bases represent a combat step loss system. Attributes, like melee, ranged combat, and morale, is expressed in terms of a die type (e.g. D4, D6, D8, D10, etc.) and modifiers carry the die type up or down (for example a positive modifier changes a D6 to a D8). Most magic is handled by rolling the die and beating a target number. Most combat is handled by opposed die rolls between the two sides, looking at the difference between the rolls to determine the combat result. Morale consists of rolling the die type and comparing the result to a chart, with low numbers producing bad results. So, the smaller the die type, the more likely a bad morale test results.

Magic is rather involved, and to be honest, I am not quite sure that I got all of the subtleties straight. Essentially at the beginning of each turn the mages/shamans/[whatever] select a spell from their spell deck (which is set by race and mage type). When all players reveal their spells, you resolve those that affect other spells first (like blocking spells), then all the other spells.

Each mage has a die type and is the type rolled for the first spell cast per turn. A typical mage had a D20. Each spell has a difficulty factor, which is the number to be beaten on the die roll. So if the spell was Difficulty 8, a roll of 9+ would mean that the spell was successfully cast. Once the mage fails a roll, he can cast no more spells that turn.

The kicker is that a mage can cast as many spells as he dares every turn, until he fails. But, after each successful spell cast the mage drops one die type for the next spell cast. Thus, the first spell is a D20, the second a D16, the third a D12, etc. Now, if all you had to worry about was failing then no one would ever forego casting every spell they could, so the author put in a backlash effect – the "Brain Burn" – so that when you rolled the maximum number of the die the mage would permanently drop one die type. (Normally a mage starts at D20 and drops for every spell cast that turn, but starts back at D20 the following turn. A Brain Burn drops the mage one level permanently.)

The scenario was pretty simple: the Evil Horde is attacking the Allied Forces of Good (Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings), who are defending their woods, sacred groves, magical springs, and the like. Pretty much wall-to-wall troops with a fair reserve. The goal: crush the other side.

Overall Battlefield at Start
I took command of the Elves, with the Spear units, Swords, numerous Archer units, Dryads, Treemen, and even cavalry mounted on elk. With no real reason to come to grips quickly (archery range was long) I, along with the rest of the Forces of Good, stood our ground and fired away at anything that moved.

My Elven Command
The  Evil Horde had nothing to do save charge forward. However, three factors came into our favor: a) beer made our opponents overly aggressive; b) we got a slow start with stragglers coming into the game late, commands needing to be adjusted, and long times spent on the magic phase; and c) their cavalry moved much faster than their infantry, so both would not strike our line at the same time unless the enemy slowed their cavalry down (see above comments about beer and a slow start to figure out where this is going).

The Evil Horde Advances
 At first, things looked grim for the Halflings. The Evil Hordes, being natural bullies (and filled with beer no less) asked where the weakest morale troops were and both the Dwarven player and I obliged by pointing to the Halfling player. (This, by the way, was the origin of the great Halfling-Elven Rift of 1029.) The Evil Hordes' magic started flowing towards the Halfling player and units started routing. Eventually we got the hang of defensive magic and the enemy's dice started getting cold, so the right flank held.

The Halflings on the Right Flank Hold On
The Orc and  Goblin cavalry charged my Elven command and was promptly skewered. With crossfire coming from a Dwarven catapult on a hill, the Evil Hordes' charge broke on the wall of missiles and faded away. Although the infantry was now within two or three turns of striking, time was called as players needed to get to their next scheduled game.

The Elven Command at the Battle's End
The game was called a clear victory for the Forces of Good. Our missiles had bested them and our magic had checked theirs. With no more patience, and full of beer, the Evil Hordes called it quits and left, after lighting a few fires in the woods.


A classic convention problem where the game started with the forces too far apart, leaving most of the action and excitement in the magic and movement phases (and the latter was not exciting). I think that the stand-out problem was that magic took too much time, especially in the first few turns. The more I thought about it, however, the more I agreed that there should be more magic early on, where the mages are fresh and prepared, than later, when they are fatigued and trying to quickly react to events. But, from a convention gaming point, there is no reason for the game not to start with the two forces 1" farther than missile range apart.

There were a few things blurry with me regarding the rules, but nothing major. Apparently the order system and turn sequence is similar to Johnny Reb III. Each player places an order chit by each unit – Advance, Rush, Charge, Stand and Shoot, etc. – and the turn sequence dictates who moves and fires in which order. For example, Chargers move before Advancers and Stand and Shooters fire before Advancers.

Maneuvering was very rigid – move or wheel, but not both – which I am seeing more and more of in rules. Being a DBA admirer, I find this very difficult to deal with unless I play a steady dose of it.

So, did I buy the rules? No. I liked the order concept as a way of making movement and firing semi-simultaneous, but in the end I like Hordes of the Things and Warhammer (older editions; I have not tried the latest) for mass fantasy battles. A big factor in not buying them, simply for ideas or a magic system, was that the author indicated that the second edition would be coming out and that it would have an upgrade cost of about 80% (if I understood him correctly) the current first edition cost. I can wait.

More pictures while I wandered around.

Very nice terrainAnother shot of the grassy fields
Nice crops and fencesEventually became a World War Two skirmish game
Nice "Green Army Men" lookImpressive modern scenario with Hind
Large World War One aircraft in this aerial duelNapoleonics on hexes using Commit the Garde!
Lots of impressive games that I did not get to snap pictures of. As this year is supposed to be "The Year of Terrain" for me, I was really looking more at the boards than at the miniatures on them. That is why so many of my pictures are of the boards before any miniatures are on them.

Next up was Bob Beattie's War of the Worlds using the rules Hordes of the Things. I'll post that over on the Dale's DBA blog when I have written it.

Cold Wars Report (1)

Well, I made it back from my trek to Cold Wars 2012. I don't know if I was the one that traveled the farthest (I doubt it), but a lot of people seemed surprised that I had flew in from Arizona, so I guess it is not usual.

I was signed up for one of the first gaming sessions (on Thursday) and when I finished the last gaming session at 4 PM on Sunday, I could not find any other games that were cleaning up, much less still going, so I guess I closed out the convention. In all I played nine games using six different rules, four of which I had never played before. In addition I was able to watch a number of games, take some extra photos (mostly of terrain), meet a lot of people I had only "met" on the internet, and learn a lot about how the hobby is changing.

A nice looking American Civil War gameWorld War Two skirmish game in a box
A pre-dreadnought game (I think?)Byron Angel's Age of Sail game

I think the easiest way to chronicle it all is chronologically, but not that some activities will be on other blogs, such as the DBA-related events on my DBA blog, and the events with wooden soldiers on my Wooden Warriors blog. I didn't do any solo gaming there, so nothing will be on the Solo battles blog!

A Flames of War game set in the desertAnother Flames of War game set in the desert
An Age of Steam naval gameA Napoleonics scenario using Shako II

Game 1 - Age of Sail (It Is Warm Work)

On Thursday night I was schedule to play a fictional battle on Lake Ontario in 1815 using the rules It Is Warm Work. These rules are simple, for fast play, to recreate fleet actions in the Age of Sail. I played on the British side and unfortunately, we lost. I did have a good time, however, and that is what counts.

The scenario was setup such that the wind was coming from the broad reach for both sides, although the Americans were slightly upwind of the British. The British had slightly more ships, and therefore slightly more guns, but the American crews were better at gunnery, so it should have been somewhat even.

The first picture shows the British squadron at the start of the game. In the foreground are three brigs and sloops and three frigates. These were commanded by my team mate.

The British squadrons
In the background are three more brigs and sloops then a line of three Ships of the Line (SOL). These were in my (Commodore Sir James Lucas Yeo's) command.

The action started off with both sides trying to gain as much distance upwind as possible before we were in cannon range (10" for bigger ships, 5" for smaller ones that contained only carronades). A wind shift of 90º put the wind straight into the British, which sent the squadrons in different directions.
As it was played, there was a 50% chance the wind would shift into the British face and 50% chance it would shift into the American face. We lost the roll. That one roll probably had more to do with the subsequent battle than any other!
Early action. British in foreground
The Game Master (GM) had thrown in an interesting rule for the game: ships could only fire at like-type ships (SOL at SOL, frigate at frigate, etc.) unless willing to accept a penalty for "ungentlemanly conduct". This caused for more maneuver as ships of like type jockeyed for position to fire on the right type of ship.

After two wind shifts my SOL are still in formation (foreground)
With the wind shifting a second time – again in the face of where most of the British had turned to compensate for the last wind shift – the British squadron formations were starting to founder. As the lines started to cross, and ships needed to avoid collisions, only the SOL maintained formation, as no one else dared to fire upon them.

British SOL start to hammer American counterparts
Eventually the SOL lines converged and superior American gunnery compensated for the fewer ships and guns. Nonetheless, at the end of the exchange one British SOL had struck colors and one American SOL was crippled and fleeing. This left two British on one American SOL.
SOL in broadside action
However, by this time the penalty for "ungentlemanly conduct" was past, so all ships could fire any target. With the American frigates having defeated the British frigates, they were now free to harass the British SOL, reducing the British gunnery advantage.

End of the game
By this time the game had gone four hours (including rules explanation, fumbling about, and cleanup) and it was time to call a halt. The Americans were declared the winners.


This game was plagued by wind that varied too wildly (at least it was a plague on the British). The GM had decided to use the optional wind shift rule, but had altered the odds of the change (1 in 216 instead of 1 in 432). The amount of shift in the original rule, however, was much wilder – it could switch to any direction immediately – but the GM still had it too wild as each shift was 90º! However, he compensated by ruling that the wind shift was to occur the following turn, allowing the players to try and change direction as best they could. Nonetheless, 90º shifts in the wind was just too great to be able to compensate for with all of the ships, and when it happened three turns in a row it just hammered the British.

Another "change" was how ships turned. I had misunderstood when he said that the template he was using was a combination of the template provided in the rules plus the obligatory 1" forward movement after a turn. So, using his template you could out 1" of movement when you turn. However, I was counting out 1" of movement and taking an additional 1" of forward movement after every turn. This meant that all of my turns were a lot wider than was necessary. That's what I get for not listening closely.

The rules are fairly simple in that you have a ship roster composed of circles with numbers in the center. The number of circles represent the amount of hits you can take (each hit marking off a circle) and the number in each circle represents the number of dice you shoot with. The more damage you take, the lower the number of dice to attack with. Basic chance to hit is '6' at long range (greater than 5" and up to 10"), '5' or '6' at short range (5" or less), or '4', '5', or '6' when firing a rake at short range. The player rolls one die for each hit taken and on a '6' the hit is saved.

As the fire arc is straight out to the sides in the original rules, the GM found that the movement system allowed for the player with initiative frequently to get out of the firing arc of their opponent, so he increased the firing arc to 90º (45º left and right off of the center line). The problem was not so much the firing arc, but the IGO-UGO movement system. The first player must make his complete move before the second player even starts. This give the second player a tremendous advantage and creates situations where the second player has to avoid collisions at the beginning of his movement because of the enemy's position at the end of their movement. This also happened in a later naval game I played. How to do simultaneous movement without a lot of pain? Something to ponder.

The other part of the IGO-UGO that did not work well is gunnery. One side fired and the other took damage. The other side fired, but at the lower values resulting from the damage. This definitely made for a tense roll-off on initiative, but I don't like that so much rides on a single die roll each turn. Another fix to ponder for my own Age of Sail game.

From a convention game perspective, although the "ungentlemanly conduct" penalty might be period-appropriate, it had no place in a time-restricted convention battle where everyone wants to just get stuck in. In our case we had to guess at the probable outcome of the battle as issue was not really decided by the time time was called. But, all in all, it was a fun game, to terrain nice, and ships very good looking (if a little small for my taste). It certainly rated 3.5 stars out of 5.

More to follow, as this was just Thursday night ...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Game of Hail Caesar

Today was my second game of Hail Caesar, the Ancient and Medieval brother of the Black Powder rules that our group tried a couple of weeks ago. Don and I used his Warhammer Bretonnian army to act as two 13th century Feudal English armies. (On another table, Matt and Shawn were fighting Romans versus Germans. They ended up playing three games while Don and I fumbled through a single game!)


Don's forces were on the left (in blue in this diagram). He has a Knight unit on his far left, ready to swing around the woods and hills and attack me from the rear. Next is his small skirmishing Light Archer unit, poised to enter the woods. Continuing right are two Knightly units with the Battle's commander to the rear.

Don's next Battle starts with a Bow unit on the right flank, immediately backed up by a Medium Spear unit. To its left is a Knightly unit with a Battle Commander immediately behind. Finally, the last unit in the Battle, and in the center, is the Bow unit.

Starting on my left (in red in this diagram) is a Bow unit, a Knightly unit backed by the Battle Commander, a Medium Sword unit, and a Medium Spear unit in the center.

My second Battle, starting on the right, is a small Light Crossbow skirmisher unit. Next are two Knightly units, one behind the other, with the Battle Commander behind. Last is my fourth Knightly unit.

My battle plan was to use the skirmishers to gain the woods and hold off the enemy Knights attempting to sweep around my flank. (There really wasn't much I could do to stop the sweep, but I might get some hits in before he gained the rear.) Meanwhile my Knights would crash into his and use their superiority of numbers to win the combats and punch through. At that point they could wheel left and roll up the enemy line, long before the flanking Knights could gain my rear. The remainder of my army would stay refused and only press to the attack once the Knights started to roll up the line.

I am not quite sure what Don's plan was other than using his far left Knights to sweep into my rear.

Don's Turn 1

Don failed his first order on his left Battle, resulting in no one moving at all. The right Battle moved one move forward, resulting in the Knights getting ahead of the infantry.

Dale's Turn 1

My left Battle was able to advance 12" (two moves), and I ensured that the Knights stayed in line with the infantry, not wanting them to get in the way of my bow fire. Meanwhile the right Battle had a tremendous triple move resulting in the Knights advancing 27" and deep into the enemy backfield.

My bow fire was lucky enough to inflict a hit and force a break test, which Don's Knights failed! Off to a good start.

Don's Turn 2

Don used initiative to charge his Knights into mine. His skirmishers, left flank Knights, and right Battle were all unable to move.

The Grand Clash! Note that Don threw in his Left Battle Commander into the fray. This was critical because he scored two hits, both of which were unsaved.

At the end of the clash both of my Knights forces were driven back in disorder. It looked pretty bad, especially when my Knights on the right ended up with six unsaved hits! Shaken in the first melee round ... this looks bad.

Dale's Turn 2

Whereas Don was having trouble getting his troops to move, I was having no such problem. Three actions allowed my medium infantry with spears to immediately move up into support of the Knights on the left of the melee. The Knights on the right of the melee received support from the rear from the Knights in reserve. (Had I realized that skirmishers could provide support – they just cannot receive it – I would have thrown them into supporting the Knights on the right also.) The skirmishers advanced into the woods, in position to fire upon Don's reserve Knights.

The photograph doesn't really show the action well for the Left Battle as I snapped it after the Knights charged Don's bowmen (in the center), received closing fire, and then were forced to retreat from a failed Break test (Don rolled a '6', of course). I was hoping to quickly create a hole before Don's Knights recovered, but it was not to be.

The Grand Melee is really shaping up. My Knights look like they are ready to crack, but still they make their Break tests.

Don's Turn 3

Don finally has a good turn for orders. His skirmishers on the left flank advance to threaten my skirmishers in the woods. His reserve Knights get a massive triple move and redeploy to the center. His bows in the center move forward slowly in an attempt to provide support to the melee next turn.

Meanwhile his Knights in the Right Battle, along with the Battle Commander, charge my Knights in the center, in an attempt to drive them back. His luck does not hold, however, and he is forced to retreat in disorder. My Knights do not follow up 1.

On my right the Knights continue to get pushed back, now with both units Shaken! My Knights on the left finally break, but the medium infantry rolls high and ignores the retreating Knights. This creates a strange situation 2.

Dale's Turn 3

My turn say my Left Battle prepare for the destruction of Don's Knights. My bowmen wheeled in and fired a volley into the Knights, shaking them, but not getting a break. The medium sword-and-shield infantry (blue) swung around to threaten from the right. My Knights waited patiently.

On the right one of my shaken Knightly units swung from rear support to supporting from the left. Same number of dice, but it plugged a hole. Still need to see whether that was legal. (I could not find a rule preventing it and it was a legal move normally.)

Don rolled five saves out of five hits with his Knights, putting my medium infantry in a bad way as they retreated in disorder. Meanwhile my Knights had gotten the upper hand on rolling hits and saves, while Don continued to roll poorly on break tests. Don's Knights broke in the face of two shaken Knightly units.

Don's Turn 4

Don moved forward with his remaining Knights, but did not contact my medium spear unit, preferring to let the bowmen rack up more hits. Fortunately, the unit was not disordered. Don's fresh Knightly unit, the one that had been in reserve the whole game, charged my medium sword-and-shield infantry. Although they took a tremendous hit, their morale held! (I was rolling hot for Break tests.)

Dale's Turn 4

I slid my medium spear infantry over to engage the Knights fully while my Knights in the center engage Don's Knights.

My Left Battle Commander is wounded in the melee and must drop back while the Knights continue to push the enemy Knights hard, especially after killing Don's Right Battle Commander. Both sides are close to breaking however.

After my medium infantry break the enemy Knights, they follow-up and head for the enemy bowmen. They know that they are going to feel the sting of arrows, however ...

Game End

On Don's turn my Knights in the center break; I decide to call it. Don has the following in his Right Battle:

  • Bow - no hits
  • Spears - no hits
  • Knights - shaken
  • Bow - two hits
Don's Left Battle:

  • Knights - broken
  • Knights - broken
  • Knights - two hits
  • Skirmishers - two hits
My Left Battle (facing Don's Right Battle):

  • Bows - one hit
  • Medium Sword-and-Shield - shaken
  • Medium Spear - four hits
  • Knights - broken
And my Right Battle:

  • Skirmishers - two hits
  • Knights - broken
  • Knights - shaken
  • Knights - shaken

With my Medium Spears feeling a pin cushion and no real units left to charge, I felt like Don' fresh Knights were going to take the field. Besides, it had been almost four hours and our butts were sore.

Lessons Learned

I made the same mistakes in this game that I did the last. Support in Hail Caesar is defined as "touching", not being in proximity of the contact. My reserve Knights should have been in direct contact with the rear of the first line, to provide support. Further, all units should have been shoulder-to-shoulder so that they provide support from the side. It cost me quite a lot of dice in support for those mistakes.

I also should have thrown in the skirmishers on the flank of the Knights melee. An extra two dice there would have helped.

All in all I really liked the game. Feels like a big, grand, glorious game of DBA. Yes, DBA. Units move very freely like DBA, almost like everyone is doing a single element move. Granted, combat is "Gotcha'" and not opposed die rolls, but the movement definitely has a DBA feel.

I'd play it again, but I would rather play four game of DBA.


1 The term "Knights" is used rather loosely. In our case, because this was my second game and Don's first, we used none of the special rules that would probably have forced them to pursue. They were simply Heavy Cavalry with Lance. Then again, we might have played it wrong and they would have had to pursue anyway. Something to check.

2 Reading the rules it looks like Knights cannot make a breakthrough move because the medium infantry in support did not retreat or break. So we ended up with this strange corner-to-corner contact. We allowed the combat to continue and just plugged on.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. 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").