Saturday, April 27, 2019

Charleston, West Virginia

I know, I know, what an odd title for a post in a wargaming blog, right?  I recently returned from Charleston for a week-long work trip for numerous meetings with folks at the state capitol and to be quite honest I had no idea about some of the blog-worthy things I would encounter in the quaint city

Talking strictly from a military-history perspective, West Virginia in general is steeped in history, itself being a product of the American Civil War.  With many battles and forced marches occurring within West Virginia, the movement of Civil War armies through its thoroughfares is a common occurrence in my reading.  There was even an engagement for the city itself:

A historical marker commemorating the battle of Charleston

Every morning I was sure to get up and run around various parts of the city, stopping along the way to read important landmarks such as signposts for famous explorers who traipsed through or paddled along the waters of the Kanawha River, and stories of Civil War lore.

The Kanawha River

I walked some beautiful forest trails that witnessed a "drumbeat court-martial" of 2 women who were led up the mountain and summarily executed by what were first thought to be Confederate, and later turned out to be Union Soldiers.  They are buried nearby.

A seriously nice little town - everyone - even the 3 x homeless people - were friendly

In regards to my meetings at the Capitol building in Charleston, there were some beautiful monuments to West Virginia's sons (and also its daughters) who fought in America's wars since the Civil War and the Capitol grounds are covered in Civil War statues.  The history seems to be at odds with itself but it's perfectly appropriate, honoring Soldiers from both the South and the North.  If you needed any inspiration for ACW painting, look no further!

He needs no introduction

Too bad the Capitol building was being worked on.  It's one of the most beautiful of all of the US state capitols I've seen.

Memorial to the WV Soldiers who fought in the ACW

Another who needs no introduction!

Another trip was to Spring Hill Cemetery at the "top of the mountain" overlooking the town.  There were 2 main things I wanted to see here - a massive tree imported from England, and the Confederate Soldier Cemetery, where I was surprised to find Federal gravestones which are issued to US veterans.  A moving tribute to reconciliation between the North and the South, Confederate States Army Soldiers were authorized to receive the benefit of a government-issued veteran tombstone.  It sounds silly but it's touching none-the-less.

Confederate Cemetery

US Government-issued tombstones for Confederate veterans
Confederate States Army is not something you normally see on a headstone!

State Veterans Memorial

I also have to say, no visit to West Virginia (or the south) would be complete without eating Biscuits and Gravy. If you don't know - look it up.  Here are two favorite spots for the locals - Tudor's Biscuit World, and Suzi's Hamburgers, both known for their excellent Biscuits and Gravy.  Biscuits and Gravy, by the way, is a southern US dish which will confuse Europeans who use the term "biscuit" to mean something different than what we call it in the US.  If you're curious - here is a tutorial.  Take my word for it - it's amazing.

Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast from Tudor's  [click]

Biscuits and Gravy from Suzi's.  I put hot sauce on it.  Suzy's had a clear edge over Tudors, but both were excellent!
And so there you have it.  My week was productive and also surprising in the sense that I got to see some rich history and add another Civil War battlefield to my CV!  In other news, I am looking forward to gaming at Ken's house tomorrow where we will try a game of "To The Strongest" ECW version.  Truth be told, I've never played an ECW game in my life so I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Where Have I Been, Disgruntled Fusilier, and the Junior General Rules

Mein Gott it seems like a long time since I've posted.  I'd love to tell you all that the reason is I've been so busy gaming, painting, and building terrain that there has been no time for blogging!  That, of course, would be a lie.

The truth is work, life, and family have been taking up the majority of my time lately.  Between my crazy job, and my childrens' activities, I come home exhausted.  I am absolutely, 100% certain that many of you out there can relate.  The truth is I am GLAD to have those "problems" (for one thing my job funds my hobbies).  The sad part is, it's taken me almost 4 months to paint up 3 15mm SS Platoons. 

We're getting there - 1 squad at a time.  So please bear with us.

Anyways, you didn't come here to listen to my first-world, western society problems.  that's why we have Meme Bear. 

Here's an interesting question for you tech folks out there.  My "handle" on BLogger used to be my name until I commented on someone's blog and Blogger, via my phone, asked for my profile name.  I typed in "Disgruntled Fusilier" (an old Blog Handle of mine) and now BLogger thinks that's my name for everything.  I have no idea how to change it but here we are.

So if you are lucky enough to see a comment from the "Disgruntled Fusilier" on your blog, you'll know it was me.  Again, I have no idea how to change it.

By the way, this was also my handle on "The Miniatures Page."  Funny story - I almost created an account there with the awesome and clever name of "NOTthedisgruntledfusilier" thinking that would definitely throw BA off my scent.  Pretty clever I know. I never went through with it.

Final point of the evening.  The Junior General.

Front page of the Junior General Website - Used Without Their Permission

Some of you may have heard of this site.  I have known about it for years and it used to be a real inspiration for me especially when I was in Iraq and had access to good internet but no gaming (read the Little Round Top and Saratoga battle reports and you'll know what I mean about wargaming inspiration).  If it's not on your blog links, it should be!  It's a treasure trove of resources, rules, and paper minis (paper minis aren't my thing but rules ARE my thing).

List of some of the rules on the site

After my "less is more" kick recently, I got to thinking about the Junior General site and how I always wanted to try these convention-esque rules out.  They seem to be a perfect companion to the ONE HOUR WARGAMES scenarios and with very slight modifications, would make a nice, quick-play and satisfying game for a Friday evening. 

Specifically talking about the ancients through late black powder era stable of rules that are on the site.  They may even go Neil Thomas one-better through the late gunpowder period with a few easy modification.  I tried out a quick ACW bash with a few units and it was great fun.  The rules themselves are simple and easy enough to grasp (written for 6th graders).

My modifications involved tweaking the ranges and instead of removing bases, I turned to the tried and true "strength point" method and removed a strength point and a firing die.  This seemed to work pretty well.

My recommendation is you check them out.  Simple?  Yes.  But elegant and clever.  The melee system worked pretty well, also.  I think with some mods, they could be very much fun to kick around with a big battle.   Dont take my word for it - go check out Little Round Top!