Monday, October 20, 2008

Flags, Flags and More Flags --

I am recycling some old posts as an update on flags for units. These posts were originally posted here in the Spring and Summer of 2007.

As a clue to my Saxe-Bearstein 'theory' of flags, please examine the flag to the left.

It is a flag for Artillery (and, no, I don't actually use it in practice although I might add it to a limber some time).

The gray color of the 'rays' indicates that the uniform coat of the unit is gray. The red 'cross' indicates that the 'facing color' is red. The white leaves and central oval, etc. let me know that the button and hat tape color is white. And, of course, the red bear is the symbol of Saxe-Bearstein.

Careful readers will also note that the white 'ray borders' are wider than on the older flags shown below . . . that is because practice made them more visible with the wider pattern.

Now, without further ado, those 'old posts':

My Use of Flags --
(originally posted on April 2, 2007)

Regular readers of this blog know that I am working on a set of mid-eighteenth century rules ("Tricorne Wars") for use by our local club in its "Wars for Arcadian Glory" fictional campaign.

In "Tricorne Wars", flags are not placed on the "command stand"; but on their own "colour stand", which is used to indicate the unit's current condition.

For mounted troops, I will simply use a single mounted figure with the unit's standard . . . but for infantry, the situation is more complex.

Beside the regular "line infantry", I will also (potentially) have converged grenadiers, irregular troops and skirmish troops.

Regular troops will have two flags. The unit flag (such as the one with the light blue cross) and the national standard (the red bear on gold).

Converged grenadiers (who historically did not carry a flag) will only have a "national standard". Contrasting with this, irregular units (such as Grenzers) and skirmishing foot (jagers) will only carry a "unit flag" (such as the one pictured in green and gold).

By the way, for those interested in my flags, the background color of the oval (as well as the leaves and ray borders) are in the unit's hat tape color; the diagonal "rays" are in the coat color; and the "cross" is in the unit's cuff color.

Thus only the "line infantry" will have two flags. . . . . at least, that's the current plan.

Basic Infantry Flag Templates --
(originally posted on June 16, 2007)

You are all free to use these templates if you would like. Certainly change the colors to whatever you want . . . after all, I'm sure that your country won't want to use these without a few changes.

All of these (as well as the cavalry flag templates I'll upload in a few days) are in 16-color ".gif" format. You are certainly encouraged to change these colors (easy to do in most graphics programs) .

The two "German" patterns (as well as one of the "French" ones) have a central oval.

What I would suggest is that you find an image that represents your fictional nation (Saxe-Bearstein, for instance, uses a red bear). Some countries used animals such as lions, horses, eagles, etc., while others used the monarch's cipher. Use what you want and 'paste' it in.

Often, with the "German" style flags, there was something in the corners . . . often a crown or cipher (Saxe-Bearstein uses grape leaves). Sometimes there was something on the ends of the "cross", such as grenades. Use or not, it is your choice.

For Saxe-Bearstein (which uses a slight variation of the German-style with upright oval), I use the 'corner-rays' in the infantry coat color (red for line; green for jagers), while the cross is in the unit's facing color (various). The color of the central oval is the same as the 'hat tape" color (usually white or yellow . . . and black if there's no hat tape).

The "French" style (simple central cross) was actually used by others besides the French. France used a white central cross; England a red cross. Use whatever color you want.

The final template is sort of a hybrid. It uses the French-style cross, but I've added a central oval to take your national symbol.

Of course, once you've got your flags designed the way you want, you will have to "mirror" them so that you can print them and fold them around your flagstaffs. And don't forget to leave a bit of 'blank area' between the two halves for the 'wrap-around'.

And, of course, these templates are too big. You will need to reduce the size . . . and will probably want to copy them to a more easily scalable format . . . but these should do fine for your design work . . . and, of course, they post to the net very easily.

So I encourage you to have fun and again, feel free to play around with these templates.

If you like, post the results on your blogs . . . indeed, I encourage you . . . once you've got something you are happy with . . . to use them as your "photograph" (aka "avatar") if you don't already have something. Flags look great when you leave a comment on someone else's blog.

Have fun!

Dragoon and Cavalry Flag Templates
(originally posted on July 19, 2007)

While I'm still rather zonked on pain meds, I won't try to discuss some of the changes in "Tricorne Wars" that this last playtest has prompted, I think that I can post a few flag templates for mounted troops.

As with the Infantry flag templates which I posted on June 16th, I urge you to come up with something to grace the central ovals and Heavy Cavalry blanks.

This could be an heraldic animal such as lion, eagle, unicorn, dragon, wolf, etc. . . . or it could be the ruler's stylized initials . . . or whatever as long as it has significance for your imaginary nation.

Dragoon standards were almost always "swallow-tailed". I offer you three variations. The first (at the top of this post) is a quasi-French style. The next two are more Germanic and allow for either a tall or wide oval theme.

Note that Dragoon standards frequently had two different colors in the field . . . one of which was typically the unit's "facing color". The other color might be white or a "national color" or something that just went well with the facing color.

Both Dragoon and Cavalry standards were both quite often "fringed". This fringe was very typically in the same metal as the unit's "button color".

Finally, while fairly boring, the final flag was typical for true cavalry. A small fringed flag that typically had only one color on its field, the central device might or might not be contained within an oval.

You are free to use (and abuse) these very basic templates as much as you like.

You might also wish to visit "" to get more ideas. Here's a link:

-- Jeff

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Review of the Play --

For those of you who might be wondering how the play I'm in has gone, I've re-posted the review that came out today in one of our local papers, the Comox Valley Record (British Columbia, Canada).

-- Jeff

Comox Valley Record

Reviewer says actor slips into his role like a hand into a glove

Night of Shooting Stars possesses a near perfect blend of hard-boiled detective angst, gritty film noir scenes and surprising moments of humour.

Courtenay Little Theatre’s fall production opened at the Sid Williams Theatre last Thursday for a six-show run, and continues with shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Written and directed by Michael Armstrong, Night of Shooting Stars is told through the eyes of aging private detective Nat Williams.

Back in the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War, he offered his hanky to a crying woman in a restaurant and his life was forever changed. The story is one of secrets, spies and intrigue. The plot is fraught with numerous twists and turns. Scenes shift between the present, with Old Nat (Jeff Hudelson) telling his story to the crying woman’s daughter (Vickie Weiss), and the past, acted out by a younger Nat (Robert Conway) and Valerie (Shannon Phoenix), the damsel in distress.

The link between memory and present is forged by the haunting sounds of a saxophone played by Nick McGowan. As Old Nat, Hudelson is on the skuzzy side of disheveled. He, and his room, are unkempt, lonely remnants of days gone by. This actor slips into his role like a hand into a glove. His body language and tone of voice create images as well as the words.

Although only on stage in a supporting role, Selina Duncan’s over-the-top portrayal of Chinese restaurant owner Mary is excellent. On opening night, the scene where Mary chases a Mountie out of her restaurant caused the audience to break into spontaneous applause.

Conway does a first-class job of portraying the classic gumshoe. He’s cynical on the outside and soft as butter inside. Conway has got the whole act, including droll comments and cigarette sticking out of the side of the mouth, down pat.  

The Mob, seven teens outfitted in dark trench coats and fedoras, deftly shift props between scenes, allowing transitions to take place in a nearly seamless fashion.

What I liked in this play: the rhythm and cadence of Armstrong’s poem-like words spoken by Hudelson; the dark set and effective use of few props; the short train/street vignettes that aptly capture time and place and that wonderful saxophone.

What didn’t work in this play: the synchronized movements of the Mob and a noticeable blankout by one of the actors, followed by a remarkably strong recovery. A few scenes need some tightening and some lighting cues were slightly off the mark. But quirks like these are part and parcel of live theatre and are often overcome once opening night jitters have passed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Over the Hills and Far Away..." --

A song for all of you. This is taken from George Farquar's "The Recruiting Officer" (circa 1706). It obviously refers to the War of Spanish Succession . . . or at least getting the troops for it.

Our 'prentice Tom may now refuse
To wipe his scoundrel Master's Shoes,
For now he's free to sing and play
Over the Hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.
We all shall lead more happy lives
By getting rid of brats and wives
That scold and bawl both night and day -
Over the Hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.
Courage, boys, 'tis one to ten,
But we return all gentlemen
All gentlemen as well as they,
Over the hills and far away.
Over the Hills and O'er the Main,
To Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
The queen commands and we'll obey
Over the Hills and far away.

-- Jeff

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Locally Good News --

Up until now Pete (Duchy of the North), Murdock (Duchy of Mieczyslaw) and I have been the only 18th century gamers that we know of in our area. However we now have a fourth . . . which will make a big difference. Two on two battles will now be an option.

This newcomer to our area is Jerry. He is just starting out with his 18th century Imagi-Nations . . . and, like many of us, has decided upon two. His primary nation is the Duchy of Frisland, which borders on the Baltic.

(Note that this could make for interesting relations with Pete, whose Duchy of the North more-or-less claims much of the same area).

His other nation is, like the vile Kingdom of Stagonia, allied with the French. This nasty nation is the Duchy of Loathar. Rumors are already circulating that these two will be working together to spread evil throughout the more civilized imagi-nations of Uropa.

Jerry does not yet have any figures . . . but if you read his HRYNLIAN blog you will see that he's planning on sculpting his own figures.

In any event, the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein welcomes Jerry and his new Imagi-Nations to the "Wars for Arcadian Glory" (i.e., our local 18th century gaming group).

-- Jeff