Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cave people by the dozen!

In the distant past, long before I discovered Two Hour Wargames, I wrote a game for cavemen, though really proto-Native Americans, from about 12,000 - 10,000BC.  I based it upon discoveries at the La Brea Tar Pits in California.  It was called NEOLITHIC,  and is still available through the Free Wargames Wiki at .

It was fun, in its day but Adventures in Lost Lands is more fun, and, better still, uses d6.

When I wrote the rules, I was a bit poorer and couldn't even dream of Copplestone figures, who may not have had cave people back then anyway.  So a friend got me a number of packs of Stratagem Miniatures Indios from the Sugar Wars range.  There were only 3 figures, club armed, bow armed, and a female.

Quest for Fire, 1981, had come out some years earlier, and I was quite impressed by the Ash tribe, so my 2 opposing sides were the Red Clay People, and the Ash People.  And, finally, here is a photo of the Ash People. You can click on the pics for a larger view.

Though there appear to be more variety, that is just simple conversions. The club man had his club removed, and either left weaponless or given light throwing spears.  The spears were made a little squiggly on purpose. (I can't tell you how many .025 drill bits I broke putting those spears in.)  The female has a pack on her back held by a headband.  She also has a fig leaf.  If I were to do it again, I would probably remove it.  In my rules, and ALL, girls are not fighters unless cornered.  So they fit my hunter-gatherer ideas perfectly.  And here are the Red Clay People. Both tribes have a total of 25 members, with 4 ladies.  I have since received about a dozen more figures, but they are still in the bags.
You can see that the Stratagem figures are a bit rough by today's standards, and, as far as I can tell, are no longer available.

Later, I was able to add Pulp Figures Neanderthal figures.  Apparently, I have PLT1, 2, and 4.

These are, of course, much better figures.
To counter them, I added both Reaper and Copplestone Cro-Magnons.

(What caveman collection is complete without the last figure on the right?)
When Mega Minis decided to cease production, I picked up a set of their monkey boys, 2-part hairy boys!
And of course, I have added any figures that I thought I could fit in. A Ral Partha, 2 Reaper cave girls, and a Ground Zero Games.

The Ral Partha girl is a slight conversion.  The first Reaper cavegirl had a non-removable (for me) mold line, so I painted it as a scar.  She also has a happy trail.  You'll notice that the next Reaper has had her eyes finished since her last appearance here.
And here are 4 Smilodons by 4 different manufactures, so they won't look all the same on the table. Remains were found in the La Brea Tar pits.

A cave bear, a large and heavy metal casting, probably from RLBPS.
A giant ground sloth, in resin, from the same source.
A woolly rhino, again from RLBPS.
And a shovel-toothed mastodon, an extremely heavy metal casting.
I also have 2 pre-painted plastic woolly mammoths, but they were hiding this morning!
And a dozen goats from Irregular miniatures. (No, they're not all in the picture.)
I have a few cape buffalo who substitute for aurochs.
So there you have it.  Almost all of my cave people.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heat of Battle

Heat of Battle is over and done and lots of lead and plastic soldiers fell by the wayside.  I went in early Friday to get my Game Master's packet and hung around until 9:30am, when I was called to work until the rest of the day.

On Saturday, I came in early to bring my stuff into the hall, and was able to snap pics of some of the exhibits.
First was the nose section of a B-24 Liberator.  You can go to the rear of this exhibit and view the cockpit and the area behind it.

Next, my favorite tank, the Sherman.  I know way too much about the American workhorse, shared with just about every ally.
An M3 halftrack and truck, laoded with goodies that you can only see from the sky walks.
Too good to pass up: a Willys Jeep with a Bantam trail, mounting a dovecote.
Then I ascended to the second floor to get better pictures of the aircraft hanging above out heads.

 And then a skywalk for even better pictures (not for the vertiginous)

Since it wasn't yet opening time, I walked over to the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, and snapped a few mor pics.

AS a guy who runs WWII Russians, I couldn't pass up the Russian machine gun.
Next to it was the U.S. doorknocker, the 37mm anti-tank gun, and an amphibious jeep in the background.
And the cutest gun in WWII, the German infantry support gun.

And a German 88mm anti-aircraft gun with a typical gamer in front.
Since it was time for the museum and Heat of Battle to begin, I headed back to the Freedom Pavilion where all the gaming that did not involve Flames of War was scheduled.
 At 9:00am, I got into Bob Kelso's Chateau Thierry game, commanding a unit of Americans and a Mark I female tank. With my usual luck, my tank wouldn't move on the initial move, but carried on afterwards.

Since movement was card-driven, I had plenty of time to look around at other games.  A Bolt Action game that hadn't started yet.

A Command Decision game.
The assault on Omaha Beach, but I don't know what game system.  Best looking game periscope I've ever seen!
A Johnny Reb game hosted by Duane Rock, whose terrain is beyond great!

Unfortunately, Chateau Thierry ran beyond it's slated time, and since I only had an hour to eat and set up my game, I slunk off to Ugly Dog Saloon two blocks away for my traditional incredible pulled pork lunch.  I was accompanied by Mark Mod and Alvin Himmel, ruining both their diets, while I munched down guilt-free.  I later found out that the Americans took Chateau Theirry without too many losses.

My Game.
I ran a game set in 1929 Nicaragua.  The US Marines found out that the Sandanistas intended to attack a trading post run by US citizens, so they sent a full platoon to halt this affront.  I used NUTS! Final Version for my game.  Both sides started from opposite ends of the table, trying to rush forward and achieve their goals.  The table was mostly jungle with a few clearings, the post, and a wavery road going past the front of the post, defended by the poorly armed, MR & Mrs. Smith (yeah, right), "Pops" Smith, O'Rourke (with the only rifle), and maid Lucy.

The Marines troop down the road. Figures are mostly Cannon Fodder Miniatures augmented by Pulp Figures for 2 BAR's and the medium machine gun.

Firing began as both sides tried to command the road in front of the post.

But the Marines were able to get to the post first. Some climbed the fences, and others made for the gate.

The Sandanistas were held off.  2 or 4 got into the compound, and were shot down after taking out a few Marines.
The Marines lost 20% of their figures dead or wounded, and the Sandanistas lost about 23%.  So it was a victory for the Marines, who successfully defeated the Sandanistas.  Newspapers back in the states heralded a great victory by a Marine platoon against 1000 Sandanistas.
The lovely Sarissa buildings were loaned by friend Chris Swearingen, who was unable to attend, alas.  The actual troops involved were: US Marines, 42 rank, file, and Lt..  2 2-man Lewis gun teams, and a medium machine gun, which never got into action.  Sandanistas: 72 figures, including 2 2-man Lewis gun teams.
Once the Marines got into the post, the Sandanistas had very little chance of driving them out.

With all mu goodies put away, I joined in Mark Mod's And A Bottle Of Rum game, "Blackbeard's Last Battle"  There was the sloop Adventure, with 10 4-pounders, that Blackbeard was forced to use following the wreck of Queen Anne's Revenge.  They were chased by the Royal Navy in 2 sloops, the Jane and the Ranger, from which the guns had been removed, and the hold filled with fighting men.  Mark had a great banner-printed coast and estuary that ran the length of the table, adorned with 3 GHQ sloops.

The Blackbeard player, for some reason, followed Blackbeard's mistake and followed the u-turn to board the Jane, which had many more sailors than he.  They grappled, and the fight was on, with Blackbeard losing most of his men.  He managed to load his guns with grape, and was going to cut the grapples and sail away at the end of the game.

And as a final shot, the dive bomber that hung above us!
I intended to return on Sunday, but was once again called to work.  I picked up a few things from Bobe's Hobbies, the only vendor other than the museum itself, and really enjoyed myself!  Of course, I'll return next year.
The National World War II Museum: