Times they are a changing…

Since our sponsor, Fantasiapelit, moved to a new location last month we lost our club space. Luckily we were able to band up with another band of like minded gentlemen gamers, Stadin Strategit and with the increased membership, together we were able to rent a twice as big club room than what they had previously. Certainly a change of pace for us since half of the walls are now covered with windows and you can see the fabled outside through them -quite a change of pace for the Gemigabok orcs who were used to staying underground. Unfortunately as there isn’t as much space available as previously, and we have have to take other players into consideration as well we had to dump plenty of material reserved for future projects away. Then again, if you haven’t used the several cubic meters of styrofoam to make those buildings you planned a decade go, it is a safe bet you won’t be doing so in near future either… We also had to let go of the five large 9 by 5 foot purpose built 1808 Russo -Swedish War terrains. Luckily we were able to hand them over to Ropecon who were also sponsors of the whole project so in the end it was very appropriate that they were the recipients of the terrain. They’ll most likely put them in good use in future Ropecons as terrain for miniature gaming tournaments and such. This was a huge relief since it would’ve  been heartbreaking to throw them to garbage. These babieseach  took around 110 to 140 hours to make and it would’ve felt like abandoning your children!   Here are even crappier pics than usually of each of the terrain taken with my crappy cellphone.   Lapua (Lappo in swedish) Oravainen (Oravais in swedish) Ruona Salmi Koljonvirta (Virta bro in swedish)... read more

Russo-Swedish scenarios

On these pages we describe the battles that we have re-created in miniature. Battle of Leppävirta, 11th of March 1808 General de Brigade scenario details – Refight battle report Preliminaries: Russian forces crossed the border to the Savo area on the 28th of February, about one week after the main forces in the south. The 5th Division of Lieutenant-General Nikolai Aleksejevits Tutskov started operations with 3.000 men with rest of the division still marching to the area of operations. Finnish force in the area was the Savo Brigade under Colonel Count Johan Cronstedt with 4.000 men. The Savo Brigade was concentrated at Mikkeli with strong detachments to the east. However, based on false intelligence, Finnish forces had already started retreating northwards in order to protect their supply lines from alleged Russian flanking maneuver. With new orders to avoid pitched battles from army commander Klingspor, Savo Brigade moved to Leppävirta south of Kuopio. In the morning of 11th of March Colonel Cronstedt received reports that the Russian force of under 2.000 men was closing in from the south. Dispositions: Finnish forces deployed on the frozen lake. Infantry supported by artillery formed a single line with small cavalry formations on the flanks. In the forests east and west of the lake were detachments of jaegers. The eastern shore has plenty of steepish cliffs which are several meters high. This makes it impassable to formed infantry and cavalry. The Battle: Russians arrived sooner than expected and started to deploy opposite the Finnish line. The “battle” turned out to be only a minor skirmish, with two forces exchanging some scattered artillery and musket fire during the afternoon and cossack attempts to threaten Finnish flanks easily repulsed by Finnish salvos. Under the cover of night Finnish forces, according to the orders, continued their withdrawal north towards Kuopio. Apparently the Russians were somewhat hesitant to advance since their right flank in the east hadn’t frozen due to strong current. It is said that because of this several battalion commanders pleaded Cronstedt to crush the Russians with a flanking maneuver from west/behind. If all the troops of the III (Savo-Karelian) brigade that were present (some weren’t deployed) had been committed to this attack, their numbers would also have been superior to the Russians. Battle of Lapua, 14th of July 1808 General de Brigade Orders of Battle – Refight battle report It was already early summer when Finnish army under Klingsporg finally started its counteroffensive to the... read more

Making terrain boards

Instead of making the terrain from generic terrain pieces, each of the battles will have a custom built terrain trying to capture the landscape as exactly as possible but still keeping in mind the playability and durability because of the need for the pieces to be transported every now and then. As the battlefields are quite large we divided each battlefield into six terrain sections to ease the handling of them. Prior to our 1808 project we had used the battle of Albuera as a testing ground for terrain making. As Albuera was our first attempt at making custom built terrain boards we’ve learned several new tricks since and seem to continue to do so with every board. Below is a condensed guide to building terrain our way including the new ideas. You can find very detailed description of how we made the Albuera terrain elsewhere at our site: Albuera terrain As old maps of the battle rarely have the wealth of information about the lay of the land we’ve added the current information, mainly the height levels, to the old maps and printed these the same size as the terrain to be built. Starting from the lowest level these maps are cut one level at a time and these cut-outs are traced to cardboard and cut out. These cardboard elevation levels are then glued to the hardboard base with PVA glue.We’ve also used a stapler to help the elevation levels stick better in their place before the glue starts to cure. The smaller last levels are easily and quickly attached to their place with the use of a largish hot glue gun. The hot glue cures very quickly and doesn’t constrict when doing so thus causing no warping. Unfortunately most of the elevation levels are so big that it isn’t possible to use hot glue for them since the glue cures quicker than one can apply it to the whole piece. Since the PVA takes quite a while to cure and even with stapling the cardboard pieces tend unfasten in some places we started using plenty of weights to keep them in place until the glue cures. This also helps lessening the warping which is caused by the PVA when it cures. Note that the boards will have to be on even surface when weights are placed on top of them and floor is the most natural choice. In our clubroom we have access to gargantuan amounts of... read more

Historical maps

When the idea of Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809 project was first talked about the decision was to aim for as historically accurate terrain as possible. The 21 volume book Sveriges Krig Åren 1808 och 1809 had 19th/20th century maps for the battles. Lakes, rivers, forests, houses and so on have been clearly and well marked on the maps. In addition they give rough position of hills. The rough positions would have been about perfect for your traditional “styrofoam hills on a green gaming cloth”-gaming table, but we wanted to get more correct topographical feel to them if possible. Modern topographical maps proved to be the solution. National Land Survey of Finland has whole Finland on the net at Citizen’s MapSite. Modern maps and the maps from the book were usually very good matches. Distances were about the same between distinct terrain features, relative positions were close etc. Combining the modern contour lines with old maps required quite a bit tedious work, tough. After experimenting with various ways of selection the lines in PhotoShop, conclusion that it was the most efficient to drawn out the line by hand was reached. Some attention was needed to see where modern day landscaping had taken place. For example one battlefield apparently had a ridge dug out for sand. So some “artistic talent” was needed. This was particularly true with 2.5 meter contour lines that were between the main lines (which are at 5 meter intervals) as they weren’t fully present. End result was a file just showed the contour lines at 2.5 meter intervals that could be combined with maps from the book. Low resolution sample: Just the modern contours lines were printed out on normal colour printer and the printouts were taped together to make one big 270x150cm map. This map was used a build up terrain. The combined map (old map with contour lines) enabled us to model lakes, rivers, forest, houses and other features on the terrain in the right... read more