Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Snap Con VIII - The Crisis on the Danube, April, 1809

We are pleased to announce that Snap Con VIII, the next Campaign in a Day event, using the Snappy Nappy rules by Russ Lockwood, will take place on Sunday April, 19th, 2020. The event will once again be held at the excellent gaming space and store, The Portal,  in Manchester CT, from 10 AM - 5 PM. As in the past there is no charge for playing in this event, which will once again feature as many as 16 different tables, many hundreds of wargames figures, and as many as 20 or more players, each commanding  an Army Corps or Division(s).

Situation as of April 20, 2009; we will be playing almost exactly 211 years later!

    With Napoleon and the bulk of the French Army tied up in Spain during 1808, the Austrians planned to attack in Bavaria, one the French Allied states of the Confederation of the Rhine. Taking advantage of the absence of the Emperor and many of the veterans of the French Grande Armee, they hoped that the rest of Germany would rise in revolt against the French, and possibly to persuade Prussia to join the conflict.

Emperor Napoleon addressing the troops of his Bavarian ally at Abensburg. 

Despite Napoleon being well aware of Austrian plans, he delayed his departure from Paris as long as possible to avoid accelerating events. Left to exercise greater judgement than he was accustomed to, Marechal Berthier, Napoleon's Chief of staff and nominal Army commander in the Emperor's absence, misunderstood the endless stream of instructions emanating from France, and wound up spreading his troop in a dangerously dispersed fashion. When the Austrians, led by Archduke Charles (Erzherzog Karl in German)  attack came sooner than Napoleon had anticipated, they had a real opportunity to defeat the French in detail, setting the stage for one of the most fascinating campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars.

Erzherzog Karl, one of Napoleon's ablest opponents, who would later hand Napoleon his first unequivocal defeat at the later battle of Aspern - Essling in May of 1809. 

    Interested players should contact me as soon as possible regarding their participation and preferences as to Austrian or French/Allied. As always, we especially need one player each to be the Commander in Chief for each side... a Napoleon and a Karl! The players will be assigned their final commands in the week or so prior to the event, allowing them to collaborate to establish their plans for the campaign beforehand. There are sure to be a twist or two from the strictly historical to keep everyone a bit off balance... just as the historical generals were!

Planned Commands (some larger formations will likely be split among 2 or more players depending upon the number of participants, especially Davout)


Napoleon, Davout, Oudinot, Lefebvre, Massena, Lannes, Vandamme, Rouyer


Archduke Charles, Belegarde, Kolowrath, Hohenzollern, Rosenberg, Ludwig, Hiller, Liechtenstein

Please contact me if interested in participating: Gonsalvo AT aol DOT com

** Note that present plans call for running a different variation of the same event Thursday July 8 at  Historicon in Lancaster, PA, later this year.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Christmas Books

Our friends Cindee and Bob "get" my love of history, etc in a way that my own family really doesn't. They help out at the local library and have been setting aside titles that I might like when they sort through the used book donations. I'd never heard of this one before, but it looks interesting; not so much a military history as a an examination of the relationship. From the jacket: 

    What did Napoleon Bonaparte mean to the British people? This engaging book reconstructs the role that the French leader played in the British political, cultural, and religious imagination in the early nineteenth century. Denounced by many as a tyrant or monster, Napoleon nevertheless had sympathizers in Britain. Stuart Semmel explores the ways in which the British used Napoleon to think about their own history, identity, and destiny.

    Many attacked Napoleon but worried that the British national character might not be adequate to the task of defeating him. Others, radicals and reformers, used Napoleon’s example to criticize the British constitution. Semmel mines a wide array of sources—ranging from political pamphlets and astrological almanacs to sonnets by canonical Romantic poets—to reveal surprising corners of late Hanoverian politics and culture.

Stuart Semmel is assistant professor of history at the University of Delaware.

An oldie but a goodie; I read it years ago, but now I have my own copy!

Now this was a book I was actually strongly considering buying myself. Lieven's ability to access and read the Russian sources is really improving our understanding of the Napoleonic Wars, and especially Russia's role in them. 

Some helpful Ospreys; I am about to paint up a lot of command figures!

I already have the (excellent) old Almark book on the French Artillery, but it is literally falling apart!

Can't go too wrong with my favorite Marshal front and center on the cover!

The "Bravest of the Brave" front and center this time!

They also custom ordered this tie for me; a bit hard to see, but it's a mix of Napoleonic Golden Bees and Bourbon Silver Fleur-de-Lis. Very stylish! Vive l' France!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Macedonian Phalanx Galázios

Another Macedonian Successor type Phalanx marches off the painting table!

γαλάζιος "Galazios" is once again simply Greek for "Blue".

The shades used for the red tunics and the "bronze" equipment is different from that used for either of the two previous units painted. 

The sandals came out well, I think.

"Goop" was used to attach the shields to the shield arms. 

They are looking formidable enough!

I have the 4th such unit primed, and probably have enough lead on hand for another 4 units of phalangites. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Hobby Plans for 2020


After 3 successive over budget years, I must do better in  2020! I will increase the allowance to $2000,  and hope to come in below that. At the moment, there is really no lead that I need to purchase (some of what I was planning to buy this year was purchased in December due to the year end sales), By the end of the year a large Old Glory order is likely, but I need to move figures out of the pile to make room for that!


With no major project on the drawing board (at least at present), I expect painting output may fall this year as well; still, I'd like to do at least 2000 points worth. 

1)  Once again, the lead for a large Macedonian Army I picked up several years ago is high on the list. Some progress was finally made on that front, but the bulk of the lead remains unpainted!

2) Add to my French and Austrian Napoleonic armies (already my largest, mind you), in preparation for both the 1809 Campaign in a Day on the Danube (see below), and a 2021 or later return to the Battle of Wagram. 

3) Rebase the Chariot era troops from Bill McHugh's Collection to my system.

4) Maybe some additional ECW reinforcements late in the year (needs the Old Glory Order)

5) Paint the Murawski Polish Horse Artillery and Krakus. Of course, should they chose to do the Baden Hussars, those will rise to the top of the list!

6) Paint some of the backlog of Great Italian Wars troops (recurring unmet goal!). I have some of the exquisite Eureka Gendarmes assembled and primed, though!

7) Avoid starting any new projects! 


Try to exceed 12 games run/assisted with/played in again this year. 

We are due to start a Warplan 5/5 based multiplayer game this year. My country is the Kingdom of Obajosa, based upon Napoleonic Spain, and using my Spanish army, 

Run a Campaign in a Day at The Portal in Manchester, CT, again this spring, based upon the April, 1809 "Crisis on the Danube" .  

Run the same (doubtless with some changes) at Historicon in July; most likely that will be the last time I'll do a Campaign in a Day at Historicon, but you never know!  :-)  

Probably run a Siege game using Vauban's Wars at Historicon

The Historicon theme this year provides little inspiration for me for other games, aside from the outside possibility of a French Revolutionary Balloon Corps appearance; color that unlikely! That means one or more smaller  1809 games with Field of Battle 3rd edition are likely to be on the roster. One or more games with To the Strongest/For King and Parliament are likely. 

With the return to Lancaster, I might even run a Sunday morning game!

Jared and I have discussed doing a version of the 1809 Campaign in a Day at his Game club this summer, possibly with different rules. 

I haven't decided yet whether to attend HAVOC in April this year and run a game there; I find the drive there and back to be long, and would probably be better served just doing a game at home. On the other hand, a game from Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen is a possibility. 


Maintain about the same number of Blog posts - circa 80 - 100 per year. 


I have a lot of sets that I want to try out, and did none of that last year (see last years planning post!); maybe 2020 will be the year!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Chariots a Roulettes" - an organizational solution

OK, so they are rolling carts with drawers. The French name just sounds so very sexy, conjuring up images of Ancient Egypt and Monte Carlo! Very suitable for wargamers!

After the third time this year spending a few evenings searching for those figures I knew I had, not to mention layers of postal boxes crowding the distant nether regions of my wargames table, I decided that it was time to impose some sanity and system upon tings. These thoughts coincided with the New Year sales at Michaels Craft stores (a large chain here in the US). As part of their annual (more like seasonal!) storage sales, they had many kinds of storage solutions on sale (60% off regular price... which you should never pay for almost anything at Michaels unless you need it TODAY and can't wait; just sign up for their sales announcements on your cell!). 

Anyway, I ordered one of the 5 drawer carts above, and two of the 10 drawer carts (below), plus a 16 drawer Really useful Box organizer (my third such and probably last), and the carts, er, ahem, chariots, arrived a few days later. 

At under $30 each with the 60% off sale discount, it was no surprise that these are quite light weight. Indeed, the box on the 10 drawer cart advises that each drawer not hold more than 4 1/2 pounds. Definitely not the thing for stashing your North Korean Uranium stockpile. I can attest that heavier loads will make the drawers stick a bit, and I suppose over time they could bend the lightweight metal tracks that the drawers slide within. 

They assembled very easily and quickly; it took me about 30 minutes to put together each one.  They are lightweight, and thus were easily moved down to the basement. The only down side is that they are too tall to fit under the wargames table, which would have been perfect. Almost al;l of my unpainted Napoleonic lead is now in the drawers of one cart (the exception being those 200+ Old Glory Austrian infantry, which are in a box on top of the cart). Austrians in the Yellow drawers, French in the Blue drawers, Russians in the Green drawer, British in the Red, Poles in Pink, Prussians in Purple and so on. Most other eras are in the second cart - Romans in the red drawer, Afrika project in the Orange drawer, space ships in the purple drawer, etc 

The 5 drawer cart is being used for terrain items needing painting, etc. The remaining items in the lead pile are a few assorted Perry HYW figures, Old Glory HYW cavalry, and some Italian Wars figures; they will find a home in the Really useful Box drawer unit due to arrive this week. Now I just need to clear off the rest of the junk from the far end of my table, and replace the two burned out shop light units above it!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2019: Year in Review

It's time for the customary annual review if Gaming activities!


October 2019
Adolfo Ramos flags 20.12, Sergeants $28 (preorder TSAF newest edition)

November 2019
Acheson Creations 81.60 (assorted scenics, esp gabions)
Foundry 255.75 (French Line infantry, Austrian Cuirassiers, Austrian Generals and Limbers, some Colonial items)

December 2019
Brigade Games 176.91 (French Generals and other French Napoleonic odds and ends, Fortress cannon, Colonial items, General d' Armee)

4th Quarter Total:  $562.47  (I just couldn't resist those year end sales, could I?)

3rd Quarter Total: $748.66

2nd Quarter Total:   $782.27

1st Quarter Totals: $590.89

TOTAL 2019:   $2,684.49

Previous years:  $2,671 in 2018, $2.906 in 2017, $1,679 in 2016, $2,235 in 2015

GOAL: was $1800 for the year, so I went over by 50%. The biggest reason for that was the unplanned acquisition of Bill McHugh's painted Chariot Wars armies. Aside from those figures, a relatively low percentage of the budget was spent on figures until the year end sales!

I generally use Delta Ceramcoat craft paints, but you get the idea...


October 2019
54 Austrian Line Infantry, 120 points

November 2019

36 Austrian Line, 18 Early French Ligne, 120 points

December 2019

18 French Early Legere, 24 Macedonian Phalangites, 6 Siege Cannon, 150 pts

4th Quarter Total: 390 pts (plus a LOT of terrain!) 

3rd Quarter Total:  195 points

2nd Quarter Total:  561 points

1st Quarter Total:  795 pts

TOTAL 2019:  1,941 - lowest in the past 5 years, BUT I did a LOT of terrain in 2019!

Previous years:  2,857 in 2017, 3,717 in 2017, 3,320 in 2016, 2,235 in 2015

2019 Painting breakdown:
Napoleonic  French

Napoleonic Badener
Napoleonic Bavarian

Napoleonic Austrian

Napoleonic Tirolese

Tony’s 20mm French Batt’n


ECW (roughly 50/50 K or P)


Ancient Macedonia


Siege Guns





Thus ECW figures made up almost 50% of the painting output, driven by my plans to run Soggy Bottom multiple times, which I did Even with that, Napoleonic output still was the largest slice, with some of that driven by the planned Tyrolean Revolt games. 

GOALS: from p[lanning post a year ago, were:

1)  Once again, the lead for a large Macedonian Army I picked up several years ago is high on the list. Perhaps I should plan to run a game with them; A game with TTS at HAVOC in April or at Historicon might be a viable target.  The slightest of progress!

2) Add the elite companies and an early Legere unit to flesh out an early Imperial  French "Division" of 5 units in Biciorne/side plumed shakos for the Legere. I have more than enough lead on hand for a second such "Division" as well. done; need some more lead from Old Glory to do the rest of the second Division in Bicorne 

3) Paint some of the backlog of Great Italian Wars troops. Play testing daft versions of TTS, 2nd edition, if Simon proceeds with same, could provide some needed incentive there! Epic fail!

4) Start work on the ECW reinforcements I bought a year ago, with an eye towards running Soggy Bottom with FK&P.  Done!

5) Avoid starting any new projects! Fair; the McHugh figures are an expansion of existing forces, and I am slowly adding unpainted lead for a small Colonial Afrika project. 


4th Quarter: 2 Play test games for Vauban's Wars

3rd Quarter 8

2nd Quarter: 4

1st Quarter: Nil

TOTAL 2019: 14 games

Previous years:  11 in 2018, 10 in 2017, 12 in 2016, 9 in 2015

GOAL: was 12 games, so that target was exceeded for the first time. 

There were 84 posts in 2019, down a little again, but still about a post every  3 - 4 days, which is goal. Probably lower in part due to lower painting production!


worked with Simon to develop a long overdue Hussite army list for To the Strongest. Some assistance with play testing Eric's Vauban's Wars, and proof reading various editions of Brent's Field of Battle, 3rd edition.  Tried none of the intended new rules sets, however!