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Author Topic: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project (Updated 3/17)  (Read 21938 times)

Offline Doc Twilight

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Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project (Updated 3/17)
« on: January 25, 2009, 10:09:15 AM »
As I promised, I'm going to try to keep those interested updated with my progress on this project. The goal is to complete the project in time for the Kublacon convention at the end of May. I'll use this topic heading to post any relevant news, rather than spam everybody to high heaven with a new post every time I do something in regards to the project.

The project will represent an engagement or series of engagements between the Aztecs and Conquistadors in 28mm during the period of the Spanish Conquest. At present, the plan is to do a relatively low level skirmish using the Gloire swashbuckling-era rules. I say an engagement or series of engagements because, as yet, I have not played the system enough to gauge just how long the scenario(s) I have in mind will last, and my goal is to make the game playable within four hours, with the hope that the action will still be going for at least two or three of those - it would be very disappointing to make a lot of effort to  put on a game and have it end (however excitingly it may end) in too short a period of time. I don't like overly long games, but I like to get my "evenings worth" out of my investments.

Gloire is a fine set of rules, perfectly suited for the period. It's also easy to learn, and requires very little in terms of lead to provide a good thing. These are all good points. Oh yes, and they read well too, which I can't say for all currently produced miniatures rules.

The project will be somewhat experimental, based upon an idea I've had stewing for many years. Essentially, eight players will be involved. Each player, however, will control both Conquistador AND Aztec forces. The objective will be not only to win with one of his forces, but to delay his enemies with the other. I think it would be a very unique, and entertaining way to spend a few hours.
Certainly much different than your standard wargame; if it succeeds, this means that I'll be able to do other projects that previously might not have been practicable, either because one side wasn't particularly active enough to warrant player control, or in a situation where one side is so desperately outnumbered that it can't win in a straight up fight. At any rate, I believe the Gloire rules will suit my purposes admirably.

Today's task was focused on getting the lead to build the respective forces. After a lot of hemming and hawing over which figures to go with for the project, I decided to go with Eureka's 28mm range (eurekamin.com.au); Eureka does an excellent Conquistador range, but an even better Aztec range. They are simply beautiful castings (you can see them by going to the Eureka website). I also seriously considered the ranges done by OWS and TAG (The Assault Group), but ultimately decided to go with everything from one place. If I have any objection to the range by Eureka, it is that the Conquistadors, every single one of them (with the exception of the 'officer' figure), have moustaches and/or beards/goatees. I realize that facial hair was quite fashionable for the Spaniards at the time, but I would have liked a little more variety - some clean shaven chaps, perhaps soldados with three days of growth rather than fully manicured beards. It's just a personal thing - I've never liked armies with a ton of facial hair (something psychological in that I'm sure, or maybe I've spent too much time studying the Romans) but I am willing to make an exception with Conquistadors - just wish there was a little more variety.

I could have gone with the TAG conquistadors, who have a little more variety in the facial hair department, but it's a very minor thing, and unfortunately, TAG doesn't have the variety in poses that Eureka does. Ultimately, given that I'm doing a relatively low level skirmish, I want a lot of unique poses, faces, weapons, etc, Eureka currently wins on that account over TAG.

Another advantage is that more of the Eureka figures have quilted armor; this is again a minor point, but while some of the Spaniards were wearing full plate, or demi-plate, a lot of them had specially produced cotton armor, made in Havana for Cortes and his men. The TAG troops are fairly heavy on leather and plate, fairly light on cotton, and again, I'd like to see a little better mix of both.

That said, the TAG range is still fairly new, there is more planned for it, and I do intend to pick some up to fill out my ranks, and add variety, as I do more projects.

I have ordered all of my essential figures, including some native porters; what I don't have yet are pack mules, and I may order them from TAG, which makes some very nice beasts of burden, and are a sight cheaper than the ones Foundry produces, just at the moment.

Now, I need to focus on planning the fine points of the scenario, and on acquiring the necessary terrain. I will likely be using a mix of Acheson and Stonehouse terrain, along with some pieces I already have, for the latter; the former is a continual process, and probably won't be finished until the last playtest, but I'll keep you updated as it moves along.

More soon.

-Doc
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 07:01:42 AM by Doc Twilight »

Offline Operator5

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 12:57:09 PM »
I'm looking forward to seeing this develop!
Richard A. Johnson
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Offline PeteMurray

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 01:06:30 PM »
Do keep us posted. I also have the Eureka Aztecs and Conquistadors, and they're magnificent miniatures indeed.

Offline Lowtardog

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 01:47:24 PM »
Looking forward to seeing this I have the Eureka figures and they are lovely, On beards I dont think you can have too many these were hardened veterans on campaign and reflect it well. If you can have a look at Chronofus site he has the poertuguese (Mid 16th C) which are very much down trodden Chaps

Online Captain Blood

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 11:32:29 PM »
Great project. Keep us posted.

Out of interest, you didn't consider the (default?) option of the Foundry (Copplestone) conquistadors?
They are beautiful, characterful figures - and many without beards!  ;)

I don't think the TAG ones are out yet, are they? They were only showing the greens on their forum a few weeks ago...  :?


Offline PeteMurray

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 11:38:58 PM »
Didn't Ochmann do the Foundry Aztecs?

Offline Lowtardog

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 11:58:12 PM »
Didn't Ochmann do the Foundry Aztecs?

Yes he did indeed and there lies a tale :o

Offline PeteMurray

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 12:32:48 AM »
Spill it, bucko.  :)

Offline Doc Twilight

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2009, 12:38:33 AM »
Hello, everyone -

Thank you for your votes of confidence. I'll do my best to keep you updated; at the moment I'm awaiting delivery of the castings and working on the scenario portion. Not much to show at present, but hope to have something up soon.

I did have a look at the Foundry figs, but ultimately decided to go with Eureka. In short, I had a very bad experience with Foundry a couple of years ago (was one of those who had his credit card information stolen), and so I'm a little cautious about ordering direct from them, so that's part of my issue. The other is, I guess, that I simply preferred the Eureka Conquistadors overall, though I do like some of the Foundry figs, particularly those with the closed helms. I also think they're Aztecs are very nice, but ultimately, the Eureka figs blew me away, and at a better price to boot.  I might pick up a few of both Foundry ranges to fill in the ranks, eventually.

So what's this tale about the Foundry Aztecs?

-Doc

Offline Lowtardog

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 01:11:21 AM »
Spill it, bucko.  :)

I think we all agree that they are very nice, however when trying to Josef to sculpt some more ::) it became apparent that WF didnt like the poses apparently not in keeping with their style of figures???

Online Captain Blood

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 10:03:41 AM »
Spill it, bucko.  :)

I think we all agree that they are very nice, however when trying to Josef to sculpt some more ::) it became apparent that WF didnt like the poses apparently not in keeping with their style of figures???

Hmmm. Weird.

I think I'm right in saying that the conquistadors was the last range Mark Copplestone sculpted for Foundry before he struck out on his own. The range was always intended to be much bigger than the one 'collection' available, but they had a parting of ways at the inopportune moment  :?

Shame really, 'cos if Copplestone had finished off the full intended range of 20 or so packs, and then gone onto the Aztecs...

Well, let's just say that Copplestone-sculpted Aztecs would have been worth seeing.

I have a few of the TAG Aztecs sculpted by Mark Sims. They're very small and a bit variable in quality. The open hands to hold weapons are particularly poor.

By the way, I was wrong. TAG do have their conquistadors in their online shop already. Sculpted by Nick Collier - look very nice.  :)

Offline Lowtardog

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 02:29:40 PM »
Yep Captain he was basically going to follow the Ina Heath book on the topic it would have been a gem of a range

Offline Doc Twilight

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2009, 08:59:31 AM »
For the last couple of days, I have been sketching out maps and attempting to lay out a basic "floorplan" for my intended scenario(s).

I have already decided that my terrain will be a mix of Stonehouse and Acheson Creations models, primarily because they are easier to acquire at the moment than Monolith, which I would like to incorporate if at all possible.  With the measurements of these pieces in mind, I'm sketching out some provisional plans for the playing surface. Can't say enough about how useful grid paper is in this regard - it's a great way to scale out plans and it's saved me a lot of grief in recent projects. Don't know I did this stuff before without it - I can imagine my previous projects would have been that much less stressful, which is always a good thing.

At the moment, there are a couple considerations in regards to developing the scenario layout.

The first of these is just how realistic I want to make the setup. All of the accounts of the Spanish fighting in Tenochtitlan, both during La Noche Triste and the final siege, consistently report that the Spanish had a rough time in the city because it's avenues and streets prevented the Spanish from dominating the battlefield with firepower as much as they had done in open field battles. Even with the addition of reinforcements from Cuba, and several thousand native allies, the fight for the city in the last days of the Aztec Empire was not exactly a walk in the park. At the same time, Aztec cities were very clean, very well laid out, devoid of the narrow streets and fire hazards that you'd see in European cities of the time (and don't even get me started about how much more hygienic they were, even -with- the constant human sacrifices).

So, I have to incorporate that "crowded city" feel for the game. I have to make the Spaniards feel hemmed in and claustrophobic; but at the same time, I have to be realistic about it. I can't simply make a bunch of blind alleyways - because that doesn't really jive with the historical accounts of the city. Nevertheless, there should be a limited line of sight within the town. It shouldn't be an easy thing for the Spanish to simply mow down the Aztecs as they come.

The other thing about realism is a simple question. Just how realistic do I want this thing to be? I recently acquired a bargain-bin sourcebook on the Aztecs and Maya, which has helped to fill in a few gaps in my understanding. One of the interesting parts of this book is a series of one to two page descriptions of some of the most important Central American cities, and each of these profiles includes a simplified layout of the major features in the city, or at least one section thereof.  The only Aztec built city in the book is Tenochtitlan, and the section detailed is the Temple District. So, now I actually have a layout for what the temple district looked like. The question is - do I really want to recreate the temple district as built, or do I want to make this a fictional district of my own? I can see advantages to either, but I'll simply say that one of the nice things about having a fictional entity within a historical game is the flexibility it allows, particularly in "adventure" games of this type. On the other hand, being able to accurately recreate part of what's essentially an extinct metropolitan center is pretty cool.

The other major consideration in drawing up terrain is time factor. How do I lay out this city within a relatively small area (4x4) and maintain a game long enough to appeal to a convention type audience? Do I open up one square of the district at a time? Do I scatter them to the four winds? Difficult decisions, and I still haven't yet come to an appropriate solution. Running a "mini campaign" would certainly deal with some of the time, but realistically I don't think I'll have the room available to provide completely different terrain setups for different scenarios, so it's a matter of providing maximum utility for the space I"m covering, and anyway, I'm not sure just how to do this in a single session of convention gaming.

At any rate, that's where I am at the moment. More as things develop.

-Doc


-Doc

Offline Lowtardog

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project (Updated 1/28)
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2009, 10:42:34 AM »
Ignore histroy and go for narrow streets with perhaps a forum/plaza. You can have a small temple complex which could be a local temple. Each of the parts of the city were divided into Barrios where specific trade or military "guilds" wold be.

One major thing is false walls and dead ends used by the Aztecs as they were essentially adobe they werre built to hem the Conquistadors in or were false walls they could break through.

On La Noche Triste they were leaving the city, the above was the seige. What you are after is for the guys to escpape is for them to run a gauntlet of warriors, pitfalls and traps perhaps. Remember it was started at night too so perhaps a bit of sneaking around so the gaurds arent alerted

Online Captain Blood

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Re: Project Log: Aztec/Conquistador Project (Updated 1/28)
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2009, 10:49:28 AM »
I'd just knock up a miniature replica of the city set from 'Apocalypto' if I were you... Won't take long...  ;)  lol


 

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