Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dan Rygasewicz

Longtime friend and fellow war gamer Dan Rygasewicz passed away yesterday from a heart attack.
Dan ran several different gaming conventions including Peanut Wars and First Raid.   He would also run games at many of the local conventions, including Pacificon, Western Front, Conquest Sacramento, and many more.   Dan's favorite type of miniature games were naval games, followed by the American Civil War.  He and I met many years ago when we helped some friends with a war game convention.  Dan and I last met at Western Front at the beginning of this month prior to a trip he was making to the east coast with his wife.  He had already scheduled several games that he would be running at Pacificon at the start of next month.  In his memory Pacificon will be draping the table in black and display his photo.   He will be missed by all who met him and gamed with him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Battle of Calinicum at Western Front Game Convention

The second game I hosted at Western Front was the Battle of Callinicum.  This battle took place on Easter Sunday April 19, 531 AD.  Belisarius had been following a large Sassanian raiding force and had been joined by Hermogenes the Magistar Officiorum, second only to Justinian.  Belisaurius had wanted to avoid battle, but his generals urged otherwise.  The battle took place across the Euphrates from the town of Callinicum.  

Historically after exchanging bow fire for a while the Persians attacked the Arabs on the Byzantine right, drove them off and forced the Byzantines to fall back towards the river where they held out until the Persians withdrew.  The game was to follow a different path.   The Persians appeared to shift towards their right as they advanced.  There was an exchange of missile fire where the Byzantines came off the worse.  Though the Byzantines scored as many hits as the Persians, because the Byzantines were in close order and the Persians were in open order,  the Persians were able to attempt saving throws and made almost all of them.  The front line of Byzantine cavalry had started in open order, but had changed to close order with the second line filling the gaps.

The Byzantine cavalry then charged the Persian cavalry facing them taking some additional losses from missile fire as the Persians evaded.  The Byzantine cavalry now ran into the Persian second line.  At this time, other than the Bucellarii, the Byzantine cavalry was mostly armed with bows and swords.  The second line of Persian cavalry was armed with lances in addition to their bows.  As such they were equal to twice as many of the Byzantine horse in combat and were able to hold against the Byzantine onslaught.  Meanwhile the Arab allies of both armies had engaged on the other flank. 

Fighting was intense.  The Arab allies of the Byzantines were doing as well as their opposites, but the Byzantine cavalry was taking more casualties than the Persians.  The Persian cavalry which had evaded was rallying and would soon be returning to join the fighting.  At this point the Byzantine general commanding the infantry was slain.  The Byzantine infantry held and continued fighting.  Then the leader of the Persian Arab allies died, causing most of the Arabs to leave.  A couple of units of Arabs continued fighting with one of them seeking revenge for the loss of their leader.  The next to fall was  Azarethes, the Persian commander.  At this point the Persians conceded and withdrew. 

All of the leader losses had taken place during the same round of combat.   For this game I had decided to test an alternative method of checking for leader losses that used a pair of six sided die instead of a single ten sided die.  Numerically this would result in their being less of a chance of a leader being killed.  However, the die rolls were such that the three leaders were lost.  The procedure was to declare whether the losses received during the current turn by the unit the general was attached to were to be added or subtracted to the score of two six sided dice.  If the total was 13 or more, or one or less, then the general was lost.
Rules used were Scutarii.  Most of the Byzantine and Persian armies were from Heroics and Ros.  The Arabs on the Byzantine side were from Irregular and those on the Persian side were from Heroics and Ros and Rapier.  The Rapier cavalry mixed well with the Heroics and Ros cavalry.   Some of the Persian cavalry and Byzantine infantry were from Baccus.  The Persian commanders were Nick Cuaresma and Brent Burdine.  The Byzantine commanders were  Mike Nankervis and the fellow from the morning game who left before I got his name.

 The Byzantine commanders discuss their plans.  Mike, as Belisarius in the background.
 Persian commanders ready for action.  Brent on the left Nick on the right.
 The Byzantines respond to the Persian advance.
 View from the side of the Euphrates.  Byzantine cavalry has chased off the front line of Persian cavalry and is engaging the Persian second line.
 The fighting continues.  As can be seen the Byzantine infantry has taken more losses than the Persian cavalry facing them.
 Back to the other side where the two different tribes of Arabs are fighting each other.
 The Persian Arab allies rout following the death of their leader.
 Results of the fighting between the Byzantine and Persian cavalry.  Several units of Byzantine cavalry have become shaken while Persian morale is still steady despite their losses.
Belisarius and the remaining Persian commander discuss terms following the battle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Battle of Marathon at Western Front Game Convention

This past Saturday I hosted two battles at the Western Front Game Convention at Randy's House of Games in Sacramento.  The morning game was the Battle of Marathon.  Rules were Scutarii.  The Greeks were from Rapier Miniatures and the Persians were a mix of Rapier and Baccus.

The Greeks advanced slowly towards the Persians though the rules did allow them to make a quick advance.  The Persians were lucky and were able to get a couple of volleys of arrows off before the Greeks could close.  Their fire was deadly enough to cause several units of hoplites to become shaken and not close.  The Greeks were able to cause more casualties during melee even though the greater depth of most of the Persian line mitigated some of the losses.   The Persians were unable to exploit the gaps in the Greek line.  Though they did rout a couple of units of hoplites, Persian morale collapsed and all except a couple of units of Persian infantry who were chasing one of the routed hoplite units fled from the table.  The Greeks had 1000 hoplites routed and about 100 or so casualties on other units for a loss of about 400 to 500 men of the 10,000 they started with.   Persian losses were about 7000 of the 18,500 infantry they started with.  The 1000 Persian cavalry did not arrive in time to participate in the battle.

Aaron was the overall Persian commander assisted by a new player who's name I unfortunately did not get that day.  Chris and Scott were the Greek commanders.

Changes from the scenario published in the rule book were to increase the number of Persian infantry from 6000 to 6500, increase the attack value of the thinned center units of hoplites from 2 to 4, and dicing for the arrival of the Persian cavalry starting on turn 3.  The Persian cavalry arrives on turn 3 with a die roll of 1 on a ten sided die,  a roll of 1 through 4 on turn 4, and 1 through 9 on turn 5.  a roll of 10 resulted in not arriving.

 Aaron contemplates the Persian deployment
 Chris relaxes before the battle begins.
 The battle lines advance.  Ionian Greeks at left of Persian line.
 Contact with several hoplite units hesitating.
Two units of hoplites rout.  Persians pursue on far left.   On the following Persian turn the Persian army's morale collapsed as the rout of one unit caused the adjoining units to test morale causing them to rout and precipitating additional morale tests and routs.  Other than the two pursuing units all other units in the Persian army routed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Western Front Game Convention

This past weekend Randy's House of Games in Sacramento California hosted the Western Front Game Convention.  The event had a wide variety of miniature and board games.    The following are several pictures of the Gaming area in the back of the store.

Next are some pictures of the various games on Saturday.

The Battle of Marathon using Scutarii.  Persians on left Greeks on right.
 The DBA tournament
 Battle of Kursk using Blitzkrieg Commander.
 Treadheads, a tank skirmish game
 Cedar Mountain, a boardgame designed and published by a local Sacramento Gamer.
 Playtest of upcoming Jutland board game.
 Battle of Zama using Command and Colors.
 Another view of Kursk later in the day.
Battle of Callinicum using Scutarii.  Persian commanders discuss strategy.
I will provide more detailed accounts of Marathon and Calllinicum in later posts.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Manny Granillo hosted Waterloo at his new home on July 19th.  Scott was Napoleon, Kurt was Wellington, and I was Blucher.  There were 14 participants for the battle using Corps Command.   Napoleon was victorious this time.  The allies advanced their forward units off the hills and while they were able to slow the French advance, the casualties they suffered led to the allied army's defeat.  The first elements of the Prussian army arrived in time to see the Dutch Belgian cavalry flee from the field.   Photos were taken with my phone.
 view of the battlefield from the west
 French army.
 Allied army.  Prussian 2nd in command in background.
 The French advance

Dutch Belgian cavalry leaving the field.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


One group of items needed for Human Space were spaceships.   At this point I have decided to use Brigade Models British ships for the Federation, the German ships for the Pantharii Imperium, the Indonesian ships for the Dominion, and the American ships for the aliens.  All were given a flat black primer coating.  The various factions are covered in a previous post at
Two views of an alien dreadnaught in the back, a Dominion battle cruiser to its front, a federation destroyer at the bottom left, and a Pantharii destroyer at the bottom right.

I had considered using one of two different rule sets.  These are 2300 AD Star Cruiser

and Saganami Island Tactical Simulator

Saganami is based on David Weber's Honorverse series of books.  The space battles in his books are some of the batter hard science fiction instead of the Star Wars space opera battles.  Star Cruiser is actually quite similar when it comes to types of weapons and types of defensive systems.  The propulsion systems are entirely different though.  They both take into account stealth and detection of targets.  The movement and firing mechanisms in Saganami are also more complex.

At this point Star Cruiser will most likely be the rule system that I use.  While it is a two dimensional board game the movement and game systems are easily adaptable to 3 dimensions.  It also includes a manual for designing your own ships.   Saganami looses out due to a lack of rules for designing and building your own ships.   Saganami uses the same basic rules as Attack Vector and Squadron Strike from Ad Astra Games.  Ad Astra has a ship building tool for Squadron Strike.  However, it is only available if you purchase the $60US boxed game with a serial number.  There are also some other utilities available for creating box miniatures for the game, but these require a subscription service.

The items I was looking for in a rule set were:
three dimensional movement

defensive systems like modern day stealth capabilities, electronic counter measures, point defense, armor, decoys, shields.  Shields are a bit of a question though as a shield that would stop a beam weapon or object would also tend to leave a ship blind as it would have to block all types of electro-magnetic waves/light.

sensors for detecting other ships/objects, both passive and active.   Passive would detect heat, particle or electromagnetic emissions.  Active would be similar to radar where a beam/signal is sent that bounces off the object and is returned to the sender.  Of course, this would also make the emitter a highly detectable target (here I am, shoot me!)

Weapons such as beam or missiles.   Beam weapons would have an almost infinite range as there is almost nothing in space to stop or disperse them.  However, they cannot change direction and if the target moves out of the path of the beam before contact,  that would determine the maximum range based on the speed of light, the space, and time per turn scales.  Modern day missiles have programmed targeting such as cruise missiles or target guidance systems that an operator  can use to guide the missile to the target.  These allow the missiles to track a target over a much greater distance than a direct fire beam weapon would be capable of hitting.

Sensor drones.  Devices to aid in detecting enemy ships and guiding missiles to a target.  If using active sensors then it could also allow friendly ships to "hide" behind the emissions of the drone. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Converting Hellenistic Generals

While the four main 6mm miniatures manufacturers make Greek generals, none of the mounted generals are armed with the Xyston as used by Alexander the Great, his successors, or other Hellenistic generals.  The Greek general pack from Baccus includes nine mounted generals and eight foot figures.  The foot figures are fine for hoplite armies, but the mounted figures are either armed with swords or pointing.  Baccus has also released a pack of Prodomoi for their successor range which are dynamically posed.

In order to create generals armed with Xystons some conversion work was needed.  The first picture shows the Prodomoi strip at the top and the generals at the bottom.   The tool I used to swap heads from the middle general figure to the last prodomoi figure is a rail cutter from a model railroad supplier.  This tool is designed to create a flat cut on one side instead of an angled cut on both sides.  This allows the head to be joined to the body with a smooth flat surface for both the head and body making a stronger join using super glue.

Figures and cutting tool
Converted figure on the left.

I also had a Baccus companion cavalry figure that had broken at the legs.  I cut the xyston off and glued it to the pointing figure of the general strip.   Using some scrap pieces I added the rear part of the xyston to the figure and also to the middle figure keeping the sword as the front part of the xyston.  The position of the rear general's arm and sword prevents it from being converted without repositioning it.   Checking the Baccus catalog I also noticed that the Italian infantry and cavalry had feathered helmets that might be used for additional conversions and have ordered them.  It will be a few weeks before they arrive.  The Italians will also be useful for Pyrrhus Italian allies.

Now it is time to finish painting the generals.

The other conversions.