My main regret is as a wargamer is that there only seem to be 24 hours in a day. Not that this is an excuse for such a long break in posts on this blog, but I have been busy. Coaching a junior football team and transporting my son around to seemingly endless games certainly eats into your hobby time. I have also been pretty busy on the work front recently with a number of commissions. The football is now over and the work is back to more manageable levels, so it is high time that I resumed this blog. So, what have I been up to?
Probably the main change is to my Grand Alliance collection. At Sheffield Triples last year, I was much taken by the Grimsby lads' Marlburian demo. They were handing out sets of the quick play rules that they were using and when I got home, I read them through. The game, which I spent quite a lot of time watching was both visually impressive and, apparently, fun to play - both important factors for me. The rules, whilst simple seemed very well thought out, with simple but effective mechanisms. I decided that they were for me. Up to that point I had been using Barry Hilton's Beneath the Lily Banners, and was quite happy with them. The main thing that put me off was the unit sizes - typically 18 figures in most infantry battalions and 12 in most cavalry regiments. The Grimsby rules: "Corporal John and the Sun King", seemed to use units roughly double this size. Such units, deployed in line looked great. The rules are intended for the Marlburian period and therefore make no mention of pikes. Adding a few amendments to cover this and one or two other things was simple enough and in no way alters the "feel" of the rules.
So, what to do. I decided to start with the units I already had and simply build them up to the desired strengths. This involved essentially doubling the size of my allied battalions from 18 to 36 and increasing the French from 18 to 30. For the cavalry I settled for simply adding 6 figures to each unit. After that came the difficult bit - 30/36 figure battalions from scratch!
As things stand, I now have 8 allied (6 Dutch and 2 English) battalions but only 6 French. These are fully up to strength. My French cavalry is also fully uprated and comprises 3 regiments of horse and 3 of dragoons each of 18 figures and a larger 24 man regiment of horse - the famous Royal Cravattes. The allied cavalry is still a work in progress; my Dutch cavalry are all up to 18s - 2 regiments each of horse and dragoons, with one of my two Danish regiments similarly completed. My Danish Horse Guards and 2 English regiments still remain to be done. To beef up the allied horse in the meantime, I have painted up a 24 figure Bavarian Kurassier regiment - these can be used by the French for Marlburian games.
Dutch dragoon brigade (top) comprising regiments Dopff (middle) and Garde Dragonder.
Dutch Horse Brigade (top) comprising regiments Wurtemburg (middle) and Driesbergen
One of the main developments on the figures front for this period is the release of Barry's own range: Warfare Miniatures. These are specifically designed for the Grand Alliance period with informal tricornes and are quite superb. What is better, they mix in perfectly with my existing Dixon figures and I use both ranges within the same unit.
I will post some more pics shortly, showing the rest of the collection so far.