Saturday, November 26, 2022

Punic Wars with PaperBoys and WoFun (Battle of Trebbia)

I finally took the plunge and picked up a very large Punic War 18mm miniature collection from WoFun Games out of Romania.

Lucian (manager) at WoFun does a great job of making the ordering as hassle free as possible. I have had two orders so far and both arrive here in Southport, NC within 2 weeks!!

A couple shots of the figures as I assembled them.

Sprues of the armies. About 40 of them.

Above are the Carthage elephants, citizen infantry, and Liby-Phoenician cavalry

Gauls o-plenty!

Hastati of the Roman Legion. 

A wider shot of one of the four Roman\Italian Legions I have in the collection.

List of rules or games I hope to use these figures with:

Piquet's Archon 2, To the Strongest, Age of Hannibal, and Commands & Colors Ancients.

My first foray will be with C&C Ancients and the Battle of Trebbia in 218 BC.

Books I've been Reading about the Period

Trebbia (7-5 Carthage victory) - 

I played the straight-up base scenario and here is the setup:

This fight was a very near run thing, as the Romans had the early lead, then Mago's group arrived and wreaked havoc on the Romans, but then the Romans had one last ditch effort and nearly came back for the win. I hadn't played C&CA in a long time, so I made some bonehead moves\attacks. Lessons learned!!

I used the CDG Solo Assistant from GMT Game to play out this game as I was alone.

This was also my first time using the Solo assistant and it ran pretty smoothly, although the mechanics of the solo version were not as fun as just playing to the best of my ability with both sides normally. I won't be using the Solo Assistant again with C&C.

Dotting the Stands

I decided to put "Mark-It" 1/8" dots on my bases to allow for easy identifications. I plan on putting a white dot in the middle of the green (Aux) and blue (warriors) bases to help do more distinctive identification. 

I just ordered these off Amazon:

AmazonSmile: Innovative Ideas Small 1/8" Removable Mark-it Brand dots for maps, Reports or Projects - Blue : Innovative Ideas: Toys & Games

I think they look great on the bases of each unit. I put one dot on the front and one on the back so that each player can see the unit type at a quick glance.

Below: Gallic Warriors (need to add the white dot to the middle of the blue dot)

Below: Triarri Heavy Infantry (back)

Below: Triarri Heavy Infantry (front)

Satisfied with how the dots work on the units, it is off to re-fight Trebbia with some new house rules and tweaked unit scenarios.

Re-fighting Trebbia with a Friend

My friend Bill came over for a game of C&C Ancients and were fought Trebbia again.

Scenario Alterations

So, I'm not thrilled with the scenario forces from the official GMT Games scenario so I made up my own based on my research of the battle.

1. I removed the warriors in the Roman army. Livy only mentioned there was one Gaul tribe still allied to the Romans, but made no mention of their size and contributions to the battle. I just removed them.

2. I based the Roman setup based on the 2 Consular legions present and scaled down to fit on this game board, which turned out to be 2 Triarii (HI), 4 Principes (MI), 4 Hastati (Aux), and 4 Velites (LI). Plus 1 Roman Cavalry (MC) on the right flank and 2 Italian Allied cavalry (MC) on the left flank. (See setup below. Make sure to click photos to enlarge).

3. On the Carthage side, I added one Gaul Infantry (MI) to the center, added\changed each cavalry wing to have 2 Gaul\Spanish\Punic (MC) and one Numidian Cavalry (LC)

4. Lastly, Mago's force was very small (2000 total men) so at this scale it is hard to represent them, but I gave them one unit of Numidian (LI) and one of Numidian (LC). Note: in the three games I had played with this scenario, Mago only came in once.

Roman Setup

Note that the red round disks indicate the lines between the three zones: left, right, and center.

Romans consult the auguries before battle:

Carthage Setup

Note the extra cavalry, medium infantry, the Elephants and Heavy Infantry are repositioned too.

2nd Punic Wars House Rules

I used the following house rules for this period.

1. Hastati (Aux), Principes (MI) , and Spanish (Aux) infantry all get ONE SHOT pilum attacks. This the same as Light infantry. I have a Litko "Arrow" marker on them. I remove the marker once they have fired and they can't do ranged fire again.

2. Light infantry, if evading or moving, can move through friendly foot troops without penalty. Retreat due to combat\fire is still the normal rules.

3. Light Infantry destruction doesn't award Victory Banners. I love this rule! It allows the main lines to fight without losing half your Victory Banners to worthless light infantry destruction.

The Battle Begins

So, Bill took the Romans as they were the least complicated and I took the Carthaginians. 

Below: the battlefield before the carnage begins

Below: Hannibal (Eric) commanding the line.

I thought Bill played well for his first C&CA game and he hadn't played the system for years (Memoir 44).

Here are some photos of the action, with me gaining a Carthage victory (7-4). Mago didn't appear, but the game was very close with Bill doing some early masterful moves. Two "Line Commands" really helped my army come to grips with the Romans. 

Below: Bill moves his nasty Romans forward to try to knock out my elephants!

Below: My lights are attacked in mass by the Roman line of Principes!

Below: my Gauls like to fight naked! Yikes!

Below, Bill sent in everything he could to break my Liby-Phoenecian Heavy Infantry.

We had a great time and I'm glad to get this collection on the table! I foresee may more games in the near future. I also plan on doing a C&C game with my WoFun Conquistators.



Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Motorsports, Gaming and Me

(Today's blog post comes courtesy of guest blogger Bill Koff, bon vivant (or is that dilettante?) and member in good standing of the Cape Fear Wargamers)


Part I: Nostalgia

Are you old enough to remember watching the intro to ABC-TV’s weekly Saturday program The Wide World of Sports? Announcer Jim McKay’s classic lines “the thrill of victory…the agony of defeat” played over a montage of sports footage. If you’ve seen it, undoubtedly what you recall is that ski jumper tumbling down the hill in “the agony of defeat.”  But for some reason at about 8 years old, I was inspired by the thrill of victory shot: an early 60’s Formula One car whipping around a corner at speed as a checkered flag waves. 

The thrill of victory – freeze frame from the intro to ABC’s Wide World of Sports


Probably around 1963 or so, my parents got me a 1/32nd scale slot car set for Christmas. 

The box to my first slot car set...                                        

...and the cars therein









A couple of years later I graduated to 1/72nd scale Aurora and Tyco stuff, setting up intricate layouts on the floor of our family room. But one summer those tracks had to be picked up, as that same floor space became the scene of numerous contests of Avalon Hill’s Jutland. Wargames had invaded!  And intermittently ever since, like jealous suitors, motorsports and gaming have vied for my attention.

Fortunately along the way the two rivals have become friends. But through the 60’s and 70’s, it was one or the other, or neither.  


⚀     ⚁    ⚂     ⚃     ⚄     ⚅


For a brief period in the mid to late 60’s, commercial slot car centers seemed to be popping up all over.  My mom would drop me and my brother off at places with names like Motorama and Autopia, where we’d build and race 1/24th scale cars on giant tracks.  We were into it!

Commercial slot car tracks flourished in the mid to late 60’s


However, that stuff all faded away when my friends and I got into wargames.  Avalon Hill (and sports sims) ruled the roost, even into high school.  We played pretty much all of the classic AH titles - but for some reason their racing game Le Mans wasn't even on my radar.


Then wargames went away, and at that point they weren't replaced by car stuff.  No sir.  Upon leaving home at 17 I immersed myself in the college experience – that is to say, sex and drugs and rock and roll baby!!  As Peter Gabriel might put it, games without frontiers…


Having survived that, next came med school, with little time for outside pursuits – though I did manage to do a little wargaming with a few friends.  Marriage and internship followed.  I did set up a slot car track in the spare room of our first place for a couple weeks as a diversion, but it quickly went back into the closet.  

However, later during my residency I gradually got back into gaming.  And by the time of my fellowship I was deeper into it than ever, attending the Origins national convention annually, writing articles in wargaming magazines, and submitting my first published wargame design.

Car guy-ism was still nowhere in sight at this point (although I did have an interest in European motorsport history).  But after we moved to Wilmington and I started my private practice, an unexpected windfall changed all that.  For now, let’s just say that I moved up to racing 1:1 scale cars.  But I was still way into gaming.  So would it be possible for these two passions to coexist?

To be continued…

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Tonkin and Maximilian Reinforcements

It has been a long time coming but I got off my butt and painted several units for both my Tonkin and Maximilian projects. NOTE: click on photos for larger images.

First up are my last two Zouave battalions needed for my French Maximilian army, which is now completed!! I don't get to say that very often!

Here are the two battalions of Zouaves (Thanks Hal Thinglum for the units) which I touched up, rebased, and added flags. They appear to be enjoying R&R at Vera Cruz. I can now rest with regards to my French Army in Mexico!

Here is a link to my French Army from a prior post.

French Tonkin Reinforcements

I managed to finally find enough French Frontier figures to finish my French collection for Tonkin. I painted up the following over the last couple weeks. My two arthritic thumbs make this a choir rather than enjoyable.

Two Line battalions, both in summer white trousers, but different pith helmet colors. Here they are clearing out a native village. Where are those Black Flag rebels?!

Two French Foreign Legion battalions (4 stands each) in dyed pith helmets and red trousers. Love how these units turned out.

One additional Marine (Colonial infantry, they are not really marines in the traditional sense). Who doesn't like how these soldiers look?!

One Turcos (not sure I like the Santa Clause look, but they will do)

My French Tonkin force needs more artillery and commanders. Anybody know where I can find French artillery crew in Pith helmets? Maybe I just use British instead?



Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Tonkin Wars - Resources - Help I don't speak French

Greetings Colonial Wargamers!

Part of the challenge of doing a colonial war is finding good resources, especially in English, when the combatants are not English!!

I have listed nearly all the resources I can think of for the Tonkin Wars below. This includes histories, wikipedia, uniform information, etc.

Osprey's new French Naval & Colonial Troops 1872 - 1914: Great for uniforms and some history. 

Foundry Books, which may no longer be in print. This is the Indo-China and Burma one:

War and Peace in Hanoi and TonkinBy: Hocquard, Edouard from White Lotus Press

Wikipedia French version translated. This has more information than the English version when I last checked. Online translation is available. This is great for French Orders of battle. 

The Tonkin Campaign of 1884 by James G. Scott (Nafzinger collection)

Nafzinger also has unit histories you can download for all the French Colonial troops. 

Sino-French Naval War 1884-1885


There are plenty of ebooks in English and French in You may also have to weed out the US Gulf of Tonkin titles.


Photos, Drawings, and Sketches

Searching the web can yield some tremendous finds, but you should use both French and English spellings of the locations and units to get the images. Here are a couple I found.

Well, I hope you find this useful for your new Colonial Wargame project!!