Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Vacation Travelog - Taking it Easy

Its been a long time since I went on a real family vacation. My mom decided that she wanted to take everyone to Hawai'i for her birthday. How could I say no? We opted to go to the island of O'ahu, since the group was just to big to island hop and there is plenty to do right there, including a visit to Pearl Harbor. Of course the one thing I forget to pack is the charger and spare battery for my camera. It was a couple of days before I could get to a shop in Honolulu that had what I needed, so it was just my phone camera for a couple of days. We elected to take the first couple of days easy to acclimate to the climate and not pack the itinerary with so much that everything was rushed. I can safely state that I never acclimated to the high humidity levels on O'ahu though!

We arrived early Saturday afternoon, spent Sunday on the beach which was just a 100 yards away or in Kailua which is the small town we were staying in. Monday was pretty much the same but we did venture to Honolulu for a luau at the Royal Hawaiin Hotel. Very touristy but a lot of fun. That will lead us into Tuesday, our visit to Pearl Harbor.

Our first bit of wildlife, an Anole on a rock heading into the house. There was a whole colony of them in the backyard around the pool.

One of the local denizens of Kailua, a real free range chicken. They are all over the place and there are signs asking people not to feed them.

Another bit of wildlife near the back patio, a day gecko

A visit to the Punchbowl to visit one of my wife's distant cousins that was killed on Guadalcanal. This national cemetery is located inside a volcanic crater.

Left wing of the main memorial in the Punchbowl, this features mosaics made of crushed class you can just make out some of them in the picture.

The center of the main memorial

And the right wing

Looking out over the cemetery grounds, the cousin's burial plot is somewhere on the left side near the entrance (which you can just make out in the distance there).

One of the mosaics from inside the memorial itself. This is the liberation of the Philippines. This is where my great uncle was wounded and would later die from those wounds.

Honolulu as seen from the lookout point on the rim of the Punchbowl. They definitely have a height limitation here!

A bit of the interior of the Punchbowl from the rim. This is a closed cemetery, no burial plots are available. 

At the luau, with a rainbow over Diamond Head, (another volcanic crater).

A study in contrasts, my tiny mother (5' nothing probably a bit shorter now) next to the lead Samoan dancer after the luau

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

AWI Project - New (Old) Books

I have been on vacation, a  week long family vacation. During that sojourn I ended up in a used bookstore and discovered these two books by John Elting and published by The Company of Military Historians. The first is "Military Uniforms in America; the Era of the American Revolution 1755-1795". The second is a companion volume "Military Uniforms in American; Years of Growth, 1796-1851". The first one is a nice add to the AWI book collection, the second is nice as it references years of American military history that I only have a vague knowledge of at this point.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North

"Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North" arrived as part of the pre-order bundle with "Atlanta is Ours". This is a substantial box of material, the biggest in the whole series to this point. I admit to being a bit confused when I saw the title "Roads to Gettysburg" on two maps and "Here Come the Rebels" on the other two so I had to go back and read the box description. This box covers three sets of previously published material; "Here Come the Rebels" which covers the 1862 Antietam Campaign, "Roads to Gettysburg" which covers the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign and Rebels in the White House which covers Early's 1864 Raid on Washington (which appeared in the Skirmisher II magazine OOP).

Like "Atlanta is Ours", the rulebook for Lee Strikes North is perfect bound so we will see how that holds up overtime. The rest of the components match what has previously appeared in the prior additions with a couple of minor changes. There are four counter sheets, two primarily informational, one for "Here Come the Rebels" and one for "Roads to Gettysburg" There are four map sections one set for each campaign and they significantly overlap so all four could be used together if you wanted too. The whole series is designed like that, all the maps would (and I think do at this point) link up for the Eastern campaign, but I will have to check on the Western campaign. 

Another excellent release from Multi-Man Publishing, I just shudder to think how long the next one in the series will be. I can see them either reworking the Richmond Campaign in the east or perhaps moving back to the west and starting with the invasion of Tennessee at Forts Donalson and Henry through Shiloh and maybe through to the Siege of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River.

Here are a look at the components for "Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North", Volume XI:

The massive perfect bound rulebook

Here Comes the Rebels is Countersheet 2, Roads to Gettysburg is Countersheet 1

Its a bit more obvious on the Union side which one is for Here Come the Rebels and which one is for Gettysburg!

Here Come the Rebels maps

Roads to Gettysburg maps

The very standard charts and tables. The information for Early's Raid is on the back of the confederate card. I forgot to snap a picture of it.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Atlanta is Ours

Here is the first of the two new games from Multi-Man Publishing for the GCACW. "Atlanta is Ours" is officially Vol 10 in the series and follows SJWII in the series. "Atlanta is Ours" represents the campaign for northern Georgia from May to October 1864. These are the armies of William Tecumseh Sherman against Joe Johnston's Army of Tennessee.

MMP has certainly maintained and perhaps increased the quality of the game, of course considering the price tag on this one, I really expected something that would blow me out of the water. I was not disappointed. The first surprise out of the box is that the Atlanta is Ours rulebook is actually perfect bound. This surprises me quite a bit and I'm curious to see how it holds up, or if I will have to resort to three hole punch or a spiral binding at some point in time. The standard rules have been updated to version 1.3 but still have the cover from SJWII which I find slightly disappointing as they don't match up with the cover on the rulebook now. All the rest of the components are exactly as I expected them to be, nice stiff cardboard charts, gorgeous maps, three countersheets of 1/2" counters and a lovely theater campaign display. I'm pretty excited about pulling these out and actually playing them again. they make an excellent basis for a miniature campaign as well, the maps are certainly detailed enough to define the broad geographic features for a tabletop fight.

Perhaps my only disappointment is that the covers don't match.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Boardgames - MMP - Battle Above the Clouds

The two latest games for the GCACW series arrived yesterday so I figured I would just continue along with the theme this week. I'm reaching back to the past again to Vol 8 in the series the "Battle Above the Clouds", the first foray into the western theater. This volume covers both the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns in the west. Like the rest of the series the production qualities of the game are excellent. 

I do get a little concerned about how often these games are getting published. Grant Takes Command (Vol 7) was published in 2001 and it was 8 years before we saw Vol 8. Then SJW II was published in 2013 so the publishing time dropped to 4 years and now in 2018 we finally see not one volume but the next two volumes released so a 5 year period in between publication dates. I'm not sure whether I should expect the next volume to be published in 2 1/2 years or 10 years!

So here is Vol 8 Battle Above the Clouds, the campaigns for Chickamauga and Chatanooga
Box top

Box Bottom

Rule Books, note that this one has version 1.1 of the standard rules, which were at 1.2 for Stonewall Jackson's Way II.
Another interesting feature is that the full size artwork is stretched across both covers, so side by side you can see the entire piece of cover art. This was done in SJW II as well.

Game Charts

I had to pull theater display out to show off. 

Two more magnificent maps

A close up of Chattanooga on the map

Counter sheets, again the main one is in front the other ones are primarily informational counters

A counter close up.