Thursday, November 29, 2018


So, after a difficult three weeks in England we made it back home to America in one piece (albeit with sore throats and sniffles) to find snow on the ground. My wife and I are unwinding, and with the jet lag fading away it's time to check the stuff I brought back from Blighty.

I recovered my 1/300th scale Sudan, Early Imperial Roman and Germanic tribal forces, along with some pieces of scenery for the latter. I also brought back my 1/1200th WW2 naval collection, including aircraft, and a whole batch of semi-painted and unpainted 15mm 13th Century knights and men-at-arms. I'm thinking of using them for the two Barons Wars, and I'm open to suggestions for rules to use for these. Photos to follow once I've sorted everything out.

Now I've got everything here, I have to rearrange some furniture to make storage space for it. Once done, I'll be able to stage actual wargames - what a concept!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Blasts from the past

The hunt through my old wargaming and modelling stuff here in England is turning up treasures. I now have my 1885 Sudan collection along with the Early Imperial Roman and Germanic tribal armies, both in 1/300th scale. The resin Roman merchant ships I made may need a little refurbishment, but the liburnian galleys are being elusive. I think I know where they'll be, though. Along with the excellent Chancellor Press books on WW2 aircraft and my home-brewed ancients rules I have a good haul. Now I have to work out how to fit it all in a suitcase and pack it so it won't get smashed to bits by the not-so-tender mercies of airport baggage handlers...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Decision at Deadman's Gulch

Family affairs are taking up a lot of my time here in England, but I also had the chance to catch up with old friends. One of them is Ash Dyer, with whom I've had many a wargame with over the years. We met at The Games Table in Norwich, owned by the affable Keiran Meenaghan, and played out a short game in Ash's Western town of Deadman's Gulch using a set of Western skirmish rules produced by Newbury Rules back in 1980. Table were provided by Keiran, scenery and figures by Ash.

The bullet-riddled sign shows all is not well in town.

A few folks moving on Main Street
Tumbleweed rolls along.
Town undertaker Dedrick Bodey leaves the doctor's consulting room. Below, saloon piano player Charlie Bowles leaves another kind of establishment.

Both head for Main Street. Word is their deadly enemies Frank Garber and Sam 'Snake' Foley are in town somewhere.

And there they are across the street. Up on the hotel balcony Snake Foley saw Charlie coming down the alley and makes ready to give him a warm welcome.

Bodey spots Garber, but Bowles gets first shot off with his rifle - and misses.
Garber doesn't miss Bodey. A pistol shot cracks out and Bowles measures his length on Main Street.
Infuritated by his friend's death Bowles opened up again on Garber and put him down for the count. Cool as a cucumber, Bowles stood and took his shot in spite of the lead from Garber and Foley flying around him. Although Foley laid down on the balcony Bowles' final shot wounded Foley in the left forearm, making him drop his rifle into the street below. Thinking Foley done for, Bowles strolled casually across the street, intending to make an end of his enemy. He didn't reckon on Foley regaining his wits so soon - or for him having a shotgun. The last thing Bowles saw when he glanced up were the huge open barrels of the weapon, followed by a flash of light...

The end of the affair. Just another day in Deadman's Gulch, population 54.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In England

We arrived in England late last week. Jet lag did its usual number on us, but we were able to attend the Centennial Remembrance Day service at Norwich Cathedral on Sunday. The whole occasion was very moving in a splendid setting.

Flags of the Royal British Legion and St. John Ambulance parade after the service.

The Dean of Norwich greets a WW2 veteran.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We Will Remember Them.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Dux game in the making

A wet, windy and thoroughly unpleasant Thursday afternoon saw me at a local office supplies shop where I printed out a nice shiny batch of Dux Britanniarum cards. I spent the rest of the afternoon wielding guillotine and card sleeves to put them all together - only to run out of sleeves. Ho hum. Still, those I can get tomorrow. I like the card decoration by Coral Sealey, and my card shoe really adds a touch of class to proceedings, if you ignore the messy work area behind it.

So, where will I set the campaign? Taking a look at the list of British kingdoms in the rule book I decide the Kingdom of Linnius (modern Lincolnshire and the immediate area) is a good prospect, and the starting year will be 472AD. The Old North has yet to see any significant Saxon raids, although the Kingdom of Northern Britain has recently split into the Kingdoms of Verbeia and Navio following the death of its king. Surrounded by more-or-less stable kingdoms, Linnius has little concern for its flanks and rear. The main danger lies in those sinister dark longboats crossing the German Sea...

Fingers crossed I can set up the first game this weekend. For now, let's revisit the characters I created.

Dux Britanniarum characters.
To lead the Romano-British, we have Gaius Menusius. Age 28, he's the son of an Honestiore, a Roman middle-class family with a good local reputation. A master of arms, he's pretty handy in a fight. His wealth consists of a Tribune's Tribute, so from the start he's well-off for lucre.

The first of his two subordinate Nobles is Barriventus. Age 23, he's a tall, strong young man of noted piety. The son of a warlord, he has a Thief's Horde of wealth.

The second Noble is named Cynbel. A die roll showed he's already earned a sobriquet - the Magnificent. Given his tall, strong physique and noted athletic ability, it seems quite appropriate. I've already nicknamed him Captain Britannica. Another child of an Honestiore family, he's 25 years old and possesses a mere Beggar's Bowl of wealth.
For the Saxon leader, I rolled Ebba. A short and wiry cove of 31, he's out to make a name for himself raiding the lands of those soft, effete Romano-British. An Honorable Wodenborn aristocrat, he's the British-born son of a Foederati, a Saxon mercenary. Ebba possesses a Tribune's Tribute of wealth, which he has used to good effect to attract followers from both the conquered British lands and Northern Germany.

His primary Noble is Oeric. Once again a die roll showed he's already earned a nickname - the Insane. Uh oh... A 28 year old fellow of average build, he's quite an athlete. The son of a peasant, he has but a Beggar's Bowl of wealth, and is out to improve his lot by hitching his career to the ambitious Ebba. It's yet to be seen quite how his insanity will manifest itself...

The second Saxon noble is Wigmund, age 34 and of average build. Like his Lord Ebba, Wigmund's a devout Wodenborn aristocrat, born in Ceint, one of the earliest Saxon-conquered provinces in Britain. Wigmund possesses a Tribune's Tribute of wealth so he's not hurting for cash-but the prospect of making a whole lot more is enticing.

* * * *
Now I roll 1d6 to determine the first scenario, and I get a 6 = Cattle raid. Hmm... Not the easiest of missions right out of the gate. We'll see how events shape up.

Spring 472AD. Ebba and his men recently crossed the German Sea and stole ashore in the Metaris Æstuarium (The Wash) where they established a fortified camp on the coast of Durobrivae province. It places them at the edge of that complex of waterways and failing Roman-built dykes and ditches known as the Fenlands. A band of bold raiders equipped with stout vessels can use those waterways to penetrate deep into the hinterlands and create all kinds of mayhem.

For now the Saxons have need of both food and mobile wealth in the shape of some native cattle. Luckily the fertile land created by the Roman drainage system is good grazing country. Descending upon a Fenland farmstead the Saxons have rounded up a number of beasts and are heading back to their fortified camp. Unfortunately for Ebba, Gaius Menusius has learned of the raid and brought out the posse comitatus. As Ebba's men drive the cattle onwards he senses the Romano-British are on his tail - or could they be ahead of him, waiting to pounce? Either way his introduction to raiding is likely to be fraught with danger...


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