Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Date: 23 September, 1884 {2020}
Location: Khartoum and Environs
Situation: Get Them Back To Khartoum --- Fast!

Atop Government House in Khartoum

"Do you see them Private Knight?
"Just Eclipse now com'n into view Sir."

"Train that automatic on the shoreline."
"Aye Lieutenant Olley."

"Where the devil is the General and his party? There could be Hadendowah's hid'n anywhere now that we know they are suddenly massing again."

"I don't see 'em Sir --- but the're out there --- as sure as Bob's your uncle."

"I don't like it at all Knight. Not one bit."

British Museum Excavation Site C

"William, Abigail and I have the idea that this structure is a half-buried pyramid. Maybe more. When our laborers clear away the vegetation and commence digging, we'll see."

"Yes, General Pettygree. Think what wonders we may find inside especially if the locals leave us alone. They will --- won't they? Are they still cross about things?"

"Mary, my dear --- Abigail. We have time. How much I do not know. However, the Army has reported the entire region empty for months. Lieutenant Olley has seen nothing along the Blue Nile during his river patrols. Grandmaison has been out for days with the Lancers sending regular dispatches back to Gordon saying the same thing. Nothing will happen soon. We are safe."

Lieutenant Grandmaison's Lancer Troop

"Troop --- Hah ALT!

"Lads, we'll have to find another way back to Khartoum."


(1) Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz), Chuck The Lucky, Earl K. and Bill P. (yours truly) have a 54mm Khartoum game planned. The preceding short story sets the stage.

(2) A lot of people need to get back to Khartoum.

(3) We hope you will look in again soon to find out who did. 



Thursday, September 3, 2020

Date: 2 September 2020
Situation: Khartoum Stormed By Dervish
Location: East Wall
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Regime Colonial Adaptations

In recent months Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) scratch-built 54mm Khartoum fortress walls and buildings for our future annual BIG Colonial game. By big we meant lots of 28mm miniatures on large table surfaces. We still have those but for this game we are using 54mms from Armies in Plastic, William Britains and John Jenkins Designs to:

1. Play a game to move units, throw dice and be with pards.
2. Get Jim's new structures and our miniatures in a game.
3. Test rules and numbers of miniatures to use. 
4. Preparing for a larger game including a Relief Column.

Here They Come!
132 of approximately 232 Dervish approach Khartoum.
Hadendowah: Four bands of 40 plus one group of 10 Rifles.
Dervish: One 60 man horde.
The ratio of Dervish to Imperials was roughly 4:1.

Chuck The Lucky
The cannon in the previous image did 'orrible execution on the left-most Hadendowah band and rifles causing them to halt and reconsider the future. The other one made it to the wall. If a unit suffers 10% loss due to fire in a turn, it needs to check to determine if it will carry on or fall back.

Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz)
Jim's Hadendowah and Dervish warriors are unstoppable. Ladders show their intent to scale the walls to storm the Sudanese capital and capture it.

Natives move 18"/turn ignoring reductions when traversing light vegetation. Scenario design called for 3.5 turns to reach the wall which worked fine. It gave the Imperials time to fire.

Old School dynamics of single miniatures fighting single miniatures were in play. This enhanced individual performance and was a lot of fun. Remember Colour Sergeant Bourne in the motion picture ZULU in melee? That kind of thing.

Scratch-built ladders wide and tall enough do the job.
Egyptian defenders failed to topple foreground ladders.
Defenders trying to topple a ladder were not allowed to fire.
Remember John Wayne and Fess Parker's Alamo movies?
This scene shows set and toppled ladders. The Dervish did not have enough movement left to mount ladder rungs.

Things don't look good for the Dervish for now.

However, circumstances changed.

Improving for the Dervishes.

Right wall section cleared by the Dervish.
Ditto for the left wall section not shown.
Egyptian reserves and wall survivors form up to fire.
Game over.


1. Three turns each consisting of three melee rounds were played to the last photo. It was enough to achieve a conclusion; good for the scenario. This was a two-hour game. Seven turns methinks. Huzzah! --- BTW: Ladder games are a ton of fun.

2. Modifications under consideration:

(a) Toppling ladders was too hard needing 1D6 = 6.

(b) Once the scrum starts, individual fire will be allowed rather than using charts. 
2D6 = 7-12 will be a hit with a following saving throw.

3. Virus social distancing found the three of us separated usually by 4-8'. According to the most  recently revised stats from the US Center for Disease Control, under 10,000 Americans regretfully died directly from Covid 19. The other approximately 160,000 (94%) died because on average they had 2.5 other serious medical diseases or conditions when they contracted Covid 19. A huge proportion were in the state of New York and in New York City where Covid patients were wrongly placed in vulnerable nursing homes. A very large number were elderly. Anyhow the above is current as of the first week of September 2020. Draw your own conclusions and remember what Pontious Pilate asked, "What is truth?" I don't think any of us fully know what is real and unreal about all this including me. However, I'm not as anxious as I was in June. 

Will I go to a hobby convention in 2020? No.

Will I continue hosting occasional games with low numbers of friends using social distancing? Yes. How about former numbers of 7-14 friends? Probably not until 2021.

Some friends are out for all of 2020. I respect that decision. They have serious health issues. We miss them naturally but fully understand.

4. Best of luck and prayers for all of my readers.

5. Extra Photos from Jim.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020


Date: 1 September 2020
Situation: Morning Scout
Location: West of Khartoum (not far
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"Look Tenent Grandmaison, the Hadendowah."
"Where away Kassim?"

"There Sir!"
"Not too many, I'm thinking."
"There will be more Tenent."

"100 maybe?"

"Deuced inconvenient they arrive now"

"We've got to warn General Gordon post haste." 

A game is afoot.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My Worst Miniatures Accidents

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Late-1970s On My Way To Play Napoleonics

While cheerfully driving to play Napoleonics with my fledgling 25mm Saxon Army, it happened. In those days we gathered at Dick Z's home to play his Z & M Enterprises rules entitled....

It featured core rules with adaptations for Ancients, Medievals, The American Revolution, Napoleonics, The American Civil War and Introductory WWII. 

One of my units, the Leibgrenadier Garde was on the car consol or seat. I don't remember why but I had to brake the car suddenly and keep braking hard to avoid striking the car ahead of me. There was no collision but the box flew through the air emptying the Saxons under the brake pedal while I was still braking. My shoe heel crunched the miniatures. 

When I was able to look down, there they lay within little rocks, dirt and other debris which gathers down there. Naturally I was mortified. I had spent a lot of time painting those dear Mini-Figs. I don't think they were in condition to march that day. Anyway....

I fixed them up way back then. Here they are today. 

Every time I go past that intersection --- I remember. 
Wouldn't you?

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A Few Years Later

Some of us were playing Napoleonics on the floor so we would not have table edge limitations. Oh those were the days with nimble legs, spines and lots of energy. The vistas were the thing too. We gathered at Bob L's home with so-called BIG battalions to play....

My Saxon Army was larger by then with two brigades of infantry and oodles of cavalry. I combined my battalions of thirty into battalions of sixty. Those were my first games with BIG battalions.  Friedrich August was the first line battalion painted. As it suffered casualties, I placed movement trays removed by fire on softly carpeted steps leading into the room. 

They were fine until Bob sat on the command stand bending/flattening the flag at a terribly awkward angle. Surprisingly I was able to bend the flag back. Do you see the white crease on the pole near the flagbearer's cheek? That's where the bend happened. Naturally the legs snapped. Big deal right?

I will never admit to hand-painting that flag for eleven hours on a cut square piece of beer can flat metal sheeting my father brought home from work for me from The Continental Can Company. A few years later I found paper flags and have never gone back to metal sheet. 

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June 8, 2020 --- The Worst EVER!

There have not been many accidents worthy of mention that I can remember since the ones described. The thing about the previous incidents was the prodigious amount of time spent creating the lovely Garde and Friedrich August's flag. Time lost or ill-spent was the horror. Nothing as dramatic has happened until....

Jim P., (Der Alte Fritz) and I decided to test two turns playing Napoleonics in Spain on ZOOM. The scenario was adapted from Sir John Moore's 1809 retreat to Corunna. Here is the end of Turn 2 when we stopped our virtual experiment.

British Left Flank
95th Rifles and the 4th Foot Light Company
Opposed by the 1/51de Ligne and 4th Swiss 

British Right Flank
4th Foot inclining toward the port off image right
and a cavalry battle to keep the way open.

My wife, Dorothy, set it all up. Jim and I would click on at 8pm for a forty-five minute try with ZOOM. Before-hand I needed to set things up. That is when the worst thing ever happend to my miniatures.

While retrieving the British Cavalry Brigade from a barrister top shelf, I wobbled the board. Half a dozen trays of British Light Cavalry easily and astoundingly slipped off, hitting me in the chest cascading down onto my shoes and the cement floor. 

In the instant I tried to correct my error, even more fell off in over correction. I couldn't look. Luckily the entire 3rd Dragoon Guards (25) were still awkwardly holding onto the board as I froze. However, 2/3 of the 15th Hussars (25) and 16th Light Dragoons (25) were jumbled on the floor. Oh dear! All are Elite Miniatures 28mms.

Remaining peaceful is possible. I brought my paratrooper horsemen to the painting table to take stock. Somehow damage was not severe. How?

Black was restored to helmets, a little blue was needed on uniforms and some swords needing rebending. 

Here are the lads restored and in confusion.
Some actually needed no paint or repair.
Hence the quote, "Confusion to the enemy."
Others are on the table in the ZOOM game test.

The last lot needing attention.
Including the hansom cab you gave to me Greg H.
Not too bad actually. I was lucky.

Do you have a similar dreadful story?
Give us a history at Comments below, if you please.
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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Next Game Percolations With Photos

Next Games

Historical Miniatures Games
Given planetary "social distancing" all pards are only dreaming of possibilities for next games to move miniatures and throw dice together. My list of percolations, God willing, includes:

Annual BIG Colonial Game (August or September?)
Sudan: Collections of Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) and myself; 54-60mm.
Scenario: Imagineered by Der Alte Fritz.
Gunboats, forts, villages, native watercraft, suitable terrain items and loads of miniatures.

Above are my 54mm Hadendowah sword and spear warriors from Armies in Plastic assembling for the game. There will be three bands of forty men each.  I'm almost done. Skirmishers are mostly John Jenkins Design metal pre-painted miniatures. Flags are from Flag Dude who is now retired.

Northwest Frontier (Date = ?)
General Pettygree vs his despicably evil nemesis, Ragnar Khan; 28mm.

Ragnar Khan (yellow coat) in procession atop an elephant just to the right of the middle in the image. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Breach In Time Inspired by Jim Getz (September-October?)
Military units have been suddenly transported out of battles over the centuries to Jim's fictional "Pangeastan" forming two armies; Blue and Red. In our case units will be from the time period 1600-1899; 28mm. (No automatic weapons though)

Battle of Midway Adaptation (Postponed from June into the Fall)
1/285 aircraft vs 1/2400 ships.

To give you an idea of scale:

The above is from our 12/07/2019 Coral Sea adaptation. That's GHQ's Lexington above.

USN Torpedo bombers from Lady Lex.

New Guinea Campaign
Japanese advance up the Kokoda Trail; 28mm. (Ongoing Fall into 2021)
These will be combinations of 2.5 hour games after work weeknights and an occasional Saturday morning into afternoon game.

This was from one of our Milne Bay, New Guinea games earlier this year.

Mortain 1944 (Date: Winter?)
The last German counterattack in Normandy, France; 28mm.

Two Mk IIIs from the collection of John B. readying for the game.

Otherwise These Are Also Paused

Brace Up! Chapter 3: Back To The Bridge.
A Gen. Pettygree Short Story in three chapters via a 28mm solo game.
See the first two chapters here:

Rob O. is umping a 28mm Ancient's Campaign.
Greg B. is planning a Tobruk 10mm game.
Dave G. has a WWII game on hold.
Nick K. has a WWII destroyer action in planning.
Kurt D's, Mike F.'s and Lewis S.'s "Tin Eagles"; 30mm Napoleonic flats.
Get my 18mm AB Napoleonic Russians into a game. It's been 10+ years.
I've probably forgotten something.

Yes boardgames. I've gone back to my gaming roots playing:

Pacific Battles: The Rising Sun by Decision Games. Three campaigns are offered, Bataan, Guadalcanal and The Fall of Singapore. The later is actually the entire 1941-42 campaign in Malaya. I played it twice solo holding onto Singapore in the first game and losing it in the second. Interesting.

Afrika Korps: Avalon Hill's celebrated classic. Greg B. and I are playing this by email, photographs and video.  We played this many times as teenagers though not against each other.

Frankly I've been in a painting funk. It is so much easier for me to paint when games are locked on the calendar. There are none presently. So Bob B. and I started up another Friendly Painting Challenge for regional pards for the month of May. I am finally underway with....

Fifteen Armies in Plastic Hadendowah.

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Collectively we've got a lot to look forward too.
How about you?
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Bill's Reading List


Easter Sunday: April 12, 2020
It is Christianity's most important celebration.
The five weeks beforehand is The Season of Lent.
Lent's purpose: Enhance personal faith and one's relationship with God.

There are many ways to do this.
One is by reading/studying.   Something most of us like to do.
Please read all the way to the bottom.


The Navarre Bible presents The New Testament almost book by book.
I bought copies at a Catholic book store in the 1990s.
This book is solely The Gospel of Saint Mark.

Navarre presents verses in English and Latin followed by commentaries. The latter offer interesting historical details, explanations and theological principles. Click and enlarge the above to read what I mean.

An Historical Fact from  Navarre's book, Acts of The Apostles on page 77.
"....crucifixion, a form of capital punishment which originated in Persia; it was common throughout the East and was later adopted by the Romans."

I wrongly thought crucifixion was invented by The Roman Empire.

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An illumination of conscience? What's that?
Have you heard about people having a life review when dying?
Christine Watkins explains such experiences.
I know one of the people in her book    and    I believe him.
An illumination of conscience is a tremendous gift from God.
Ahead of time to get our attention --- sooner than later.


You might be Agnostic, Athiest, Christian, Jewish or belong to one of several thousand belief systems. Possibly you might be "turned off" due to grievances or by being too busy. You might think this is bunk. I get it. I'm sympathetic.

Here's the thing, I would not present my Easter Reading List for your consideration unless I thought it had value and merit. The late Charles Krauthammer said, "I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking."

The sentiment, "Do Not Be Afraid" appears in the Bible about 365 times.
So... ask "The Holy Spirit" for guidance even if you think asking is nonsense. Help will come. Be open to it.

Also see links titled Bill Recommends Now Is A Good Time in the upper left of this blog.

Happy Easter Everyone!

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