Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hunting Moby Dick or The Revenge of the Whale


“Call me Ishmael.”

― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

  While looking over the list of games at Huzzah!  I noticed someone was putting on a Hunting Moby Dick game.  I had seen this game at Cold Wars years ago and thought it incredibly imaginative.  Plus I was a long time fan of the book as well as the Gregory Peck movie.  Unfortunately the game was filled and I couldn't get in.  So I did the next best thing and hung around the table asking all sorts of questions.  Here is what I learned about the game.

  The original version of the game was developed by John Rigley who has put it on a numerous Historicons and Cold Wars conventions.  It was done in 25mm and used whale boats and figures from Eureka miniatures and a toy whale.  Each player commands a whale boat and the goal us to kill Moby Dick.  The whale is run by the game master and reacts to events by a die roll.   Moby can turn on his attackers and sink or crush the little boats.  Players enjoy themselves and don't take it too seriously.

  Now here is the Huzzah! Version of the game.  It follows the original rules but the game master, Tom Ballou.  He really got into the spirit of the game by creating thus poster for the game based on the movie.  Pretty funny!


The whale was again a dime store toy which was painted according to the book and cut up into smaller sections.  Thus way you got the shake cruising on the surface, diving, breaching is slapping a boat with its tail.  

“ the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

There is also a section of the whale with Ahab lashed to it by the harpoon and ropes.  Really very well done.

The miniature whale boats and crew were scratch built by Tom.  You get the riders and the harponer at the bow.

Movement us done by hexes.  Boats and Moby are all mounted on hexes and there are extra ones for movement.  This way you don't mark up a ocean mat.  Very clever!

During the game the boats attempt to sneak up on old Moby Dick and get close enough to harpoon him.  If thus happens the game master rolls to see his reaction.  He might run;  in which case the boat is dragged along.  He might dive deal and  drag the boat down.  Or he can turn and attack smashing a boat with his tail or crushing it in his jaws.  If he dives you don't know where or when he will reappear.  Watch for the seagulls!!  If you fall in the water look out for sharks!

And in a nut shell there is the game.  If your interested in trying it Wargame Vault will be publishing the rules thus fall.  It will have all the charts you need as well as paper cut out figures to start your playing right away.  Keep and eye out for it, I know I will.

 “I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up.”

― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Huzzah! Convention report


  This past Saturday I attended the Maine Historical Wargamers Association's convention Huzzah!  In Portland Maine.  it was a very last minute thing (late Friday night) as we are doing major house renovations.  But Janine said I needed a break and encouraged me to go off and have a fun time with the boys.  Warren was kind enough to offer to drive (I still cannot process things to drive safely) and so Dave, Warren and I set off for a day of toy soldiers and fellowship with like minded individuals.

  The true high light for me was meeting up with friends.  Mr Ed from the blog Ed M's Wargamers MeanderIngs was there and its always a pleasure and rewarding time talking with him.  Most importantly was meeting up with a long time internet friend Vincent from The Corlears Hook Fencibles!  Looking across the lobby I noticed an individual wearing a Corlears Hook Fencibles t shirt.  Running up I introduced myself and was delighted to meet Vincent in person.  Oh happy days!  We three bloggers then got together for a picture and a promise to get together this fall for a game.  

The convention was a return to the older style conventions I remember from the 1990's.  Not a gigantic historicon type but a smaller and more pleasant gaming atmosphere.  It was spread out through six rooms and had an incredible variety of games.  These included historical, fantasy and a few board games.

Speaking of board games I discovered a game of Diplomacy going on.  Had great, and many not so great memories of this game.  In high school we played a lot of Diplomacy.

AJ from the club put on The Battle of Rhode Island game using his Electric Brigadier rule set.  Beautiful table and excellent looming miniatures made thus a stand out game for me.  Thanks to Mr Ed for assisting AJ!  And very well done AJ!!

Lots of WW2 games especially with the Bolt Action rules.

Most unusual game was The Warriors. " Can you dig it brothers! " Based on the movie which was a retelling of the Iliad but in NYC with street gangs.  Oh come on!  You know you watched it!  "Warriors...come out and playyyyyy!"

My friend Peter put on a War of 1812 game Battle for Michilimackinac.  The ruled used were Carnage And Glory computer.  Beautiful terrain and figures.  I especial liked the Cigar box mat cloth and his you can crap it over hills to make very realistic terrain.  Great and fascinating battle and very well done!  There are not many War of 1812 games at conventions but Peter always puts one on and does a magnificent job.  Well done sir!

One that definitely caught my eye was The Battle of Freeman's Farm (or first Saratoga).  Thus was run by Rich Wallace and was a computer rules.  The terrain was award winning and miniatures excellent.  I was really impressed by this one.  For a better more detailed report see Corlears Hook Fencibles blog.  

I will be doing doing a separate post on the Moby Dick game next.  Lots of pictures and much more details!

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Huzzah! Wargame Convention


  Last minute addition to my plan.  We have been doing massive housekeeping and home repairs.  Janine thought I needed a break; so I am off to Portland Maine on Saturday for the Huzzar wargamer Convention.  I will do a post when I am back stay tuned for more.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Malta campaign

Last game day was a massive campaign game of the Axis invasion of Malta.   Tables represented air and naval forces as well as beach landings and paratroopers seizing the airport.  There were multiple tables and most of the club took part.  It was an interesting idea.  Each table could effect the others.  If the Italian navy got through it could bombard the beaches or if the bombers got through they could bomb the targets.  Charley who put it on did a tremendous amount of work.

 .  It was an axis victory but I think it was designed as such.  The axis paratroopers captured the airport because the British were asleep!  On the navy front the royal navy could not use radar because it would be unfair to the Italian's who didn't have it.  Also they had to attack piecemeal the entire Italian fleet, first with light ships then a few heavies because it made the game more interesting we were told. Can we retire, drawing the Italians towards our battleships?  No, you have to attack right now or I will rule it as an Axis victory.  Sigh.....

Anyway it was interesting aside from being set up for a axis victory.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Arthur J. Fossa. RIP


  My friend Art Fossa died the other day.  Some of you might have met him through his side business Aide De Camp books.  He always had a smile and a quick laugh and was fun at the table during a game.  I remember a game where is put civilian figures out and farm animal's.  He laughter and soon were were playing is the next hidden animal.  He especially laughed at the cats by the farm house.  I will miss him a lot.  And just to upset to say more

Friday, April 19, 2024

"Four different views of the BATTLES of LEXINGTON and, CONCORD..."


  Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), a New Haven silversmith and engraver was a member of the Governor's Second Company of Guard.  Receiving word of the fighting on 19 April, 40 volunteers of this company marched to Cambridge, MA, arriving on 29 April. Among the ranks were Doolittle and a portrait painter named Ralph Earl. Although Earl is not recorded as being a member of the company he nevertheless came along.  

 Camp life being dull, the two received permission to journey to Lexington and Concord in order to investigate sites of the recent conflict.  In early May, the two men traveled from Cambridge out to Lexington and then Concord.  Doolittle interviewed numerous participants while Earl sketched the landscape. Amos instructed the painter as to what activities were to be depicted in each scene;   and even posed with musket when needed. Only a solitary person - Levi Harrington from Lexington reported the visit, "...a stranger from Connecticut came here to take a sketch of the village as it appeared on the 19th of April 1775... and he afterwards published a series of copper plate engravings".

By late May, Doolittle and Earl had returned to home where the four paintings were copied onto   copper and  "neatly engraved" plates used to make a set of prints.  These we're sold either "plain ones or coloured". Curiously neither placed their name on the advertisement.  There were claims that Doolittle used the water colors of a 14 year old for his engravings but those paintings were done in 1777-78;  probably from Amos's 1775 prints. In 1831, Doolittle credited Earl as his cohort in conversations with historian J. W. Barber and the friendship of the two was verified in June 1800 when the noted artist Earl displayed his work at the home of Doolittle.

THIS DAY PUBLISHED, and to be SOLD at the STORE of Mr. JAMES LOCKWOOD, near the College, in New-Haven, Four different views of the BATTLES of LEXINGTON, CONCORD, etc. on the 19th of April 1775" "Connecticut Journal" December 13, 1775

Thus was advertised the only pictorial record by a contemporary American of the events of 19 April. While historians have noted minor inaccuracies, the general consensus has been that the four prints are a correct, detailed representation of the fights 

The Concord plates (II and III) depicted "A View of the Town of Concord with the Ministerial Troops destroying the Stores" and "The Battle at the North Bridge in Concord"; Lexington plates, "The Battle of Lexington" (I) and "The South Part of Lexington where the first Detachment were joined by Lord Percy" (IV).

By the late 1800s/early 1900s the plate were being  carefully studied by historians of the battle. Though crude they were rich in detail and depicted the story from the colonists side.  Both Allen French and Harold Murdock used the plates in their ground breaking books and essays.  Criticism of the plates centered on the fact that no British soldiers had been interviewed and thus the prints were biased and propaganda for the colonials. In addition small detail errors were pointed out - uniforms and equipment wrong, formations and troop dispositions incorrect.  To the complaint that too many activities were depicted at once, Doolittle answered that his intent was to condense time at each location and show as many events as possible in each scene.

How many original prints were published, how many complete or partial sets remain and what happened to the original engraved plates and paintings are questions that remain unanswered. Over the years, numerous re-engravings and reprints have been done but searches for the Earl paintings have produced but one possible item;  The "View of the Town of Concord" that  currently is displayed at the Concord Museum.  But this too is shrouded in controversy with some individuals thinking it to be an original (passed Minots to Brooks to Merricks to Buttricks) while others believe it to have been painted by a Concord man, who copied from the Earl version.