Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Monday, April 17, 2023

CAMERONE 160th Anniversary game Sat 5/21 @ Sand Wars 2023 in Mesa, AZ

Hard to believe it's been more than a year since the last time I posted here.  I'm pretty sure that's the longest stretch since I started this blog back in the Spring of 2010.  The past year was surprisingly hectic for me, mostly in good ways. 

High points included my older daughter/middle child's graduation from West Point and commissioning as a 2LT in the Army of the United States -- that's still how they write it on her paperwork!

At the other end of the spectrum our family dog, Sam, passed away this past July, a couple of months short of turning 13.  Sam was a Canaan Dog, a breed native to Israel, as well as Jordan & Lebanon, but we got him down in Yucca Valley, California.  He was 6 weeks old at the time and he was the dog our kids grew up with and pretty much the greatest dog who ever lived -- well, at least to my mind!He was a working dog with strong instincts for herding and protecting.  When he was 5 or 6 years we took him a couple of times to herd sheep and -- despite having never seen or heard a sheep before in his life -- he proved to be a master at the task.  Part of me wishes we'd taken him to do that more often, because it was so much fun to watch him in action, and also for me to participate in when I got to play shepherd... but the truth is to Sam it seemed more like work than joyful recreation.  He did a great job, but watching him you didn't get the idea he preferred getting covered in dust while wrangling flighty sheep in the hot sun to dozing on the couch at home or sitting in the shade on the front step keeping watch over things.

One day when Sam was 3 or 4 years old, he was the only one in the house when our son came home from school and a short time later a felon broke into an empty bedroom in our house.  Lounging in the family room with our son at the time and going by nothing but the sound, Sam instantly charged the closed bedroom door, snarling and barking as only a guard dog whose territory has been violated can.  This rapidly convinced the intruder to jump out the window he'd broke in through and scramble back to the van where his girlfriend was waiting at wheel.  They sped off, having stolen some cash and my son's iPhone from his nightstand.  But...

Unfortunately for them my young tech-savvy son had previously set-up the "Find my iPhone" feature on his computer, which he proceeded to activate.  When I got home a little later I called a cop friend at the local stationhouse who instantly put my son on the phone with a detective, and then the LAPD went and caught the guy.  He was a gang-member and three-time loser who if convicted on these new breaking & entering and burglary charges would face a long mandatory sentence (though this happened in Los Angeles, California, it was years ago).   The police recovered the phone but we never got it back.

Months later, on the day before the start of the trial, knowing my son intended to take the stand the next day, the culprit pled out rather than face a jury.  I loved Sam long before this happened, but after it happened I felt very lucky and very thankful he was part of our family.

Well... not sure where that came from, other than the heartfelt past!  Apologies that it has nothing to do with wargaming -- but years ago I did get myself a 28mm version of Sam, who accompanied various armies across my tabletop, sometimes at the heel of an officer, other times doing his due diligence with those dang sheep...

And the real thing...

Now on to the miniature matter at hand as mentioned in the title of this post...

To commemorate the upcoming 160th Anniversary of the iconic battle, together with my buddies Dan Gurule and Shawn Hutson, I'm bringing a Camerone game to the HMGS Pacific South-West "SAND WARS" con at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday May 20th.  The convention lasts through Saturday and Sunday and here's a LINK to its website:


...here's a LINK directly to the Event Page where you can sign up for our particular game:


...and here's the write-up for the game (which I already posted over on the even more out-of-commission Camerone Day blog that I created for the 150th Anniversary game I ran back in 2013 & where you can also read a lot more about Camerone & see a ton of pics from that game played 10 years ago):

On the morning of April 30, 1863, 49 officers and men of the 3rd Co., 1st Batt. Foreign Regt. (AKA: the French Foreign Legion) led by Captain Jean Danjou occupied a decrepit hacienda compound in the abandoned village of Camarón (“Camerone” in English) and fought a 10-hour battle against 2,000 Mexican regulars and guerillas under the command of Colonel Francisco Milan. The compound sat along the “Royal Road” leading from the port of Vera Cruz on the Gulf coast inland to Puebla and Mexico City. When they first encountered the enemy, Danjou and the 3rd Co. were en route to escort a convoy carrying siege guns, ammunition, and 3,000,000 Francs in gold (approx. $57 Million in 2023 USD). Ten hours later when the fighting stopped, all but one of the Legionnaires had been captured or killed. But though the 3rd Co. no longer existed, it had accomplished its mission: the gold convoy had heard the sound of the ferocious battle up the road, turned around and headed back to safety. After the battle ended and Colonel Milan learned how enemy soldiers his men had actually faced, he declared: “These are not men, they’re demons!”

Join us to commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the battle by honoring the men of Company Danjou fighting for the glory of the Legion, and their Mexican opponents fighting to defeat the French Intervention (1862-67).


As Captain Danjou or one of his lieutenants, can you lead your handful of men to hold out long enough to keep the Mexicans from hitting the convoy…?


As Colonel Milan or one of his deputy commanders, can you coordinate your array of disparate units to overcome the ferocious enemy behind the walls of the Hacienda de la Trinidad fast enough to still be able to ambush the unescorted convoy and score a major victory for your cause…?


This will be a 6-Hour Epic Struggle: 3-hr session I from 9am to 12 Noon--lunch break--3-hr session II from 1pm to 4pm, played with finely painted figures over award-winning terrain, using Osprey’s popular “The Men Who Would Be Kings” colonial rules, with mods for the scenario and to speed up convention play.


Room for up to 3 French & up to 5 Mexican players (combined maximum 8 players).


  1. Thanks for sharing about Sam. God bless dogs for the joy they bring us.

    The game sounds great!

  2. Ethan Good to see you posting sorry for your loss I have a four legged friend myself who is irreplaceable.whenever I read Miawand day I think of your collection.Congratulations to your daughter,if doesn’t seem that long ago that you posted she had enrolled!
    Well done to your son also great that the culprits were caught.
    Looking forward to reading your report of the day maybe one day I’ll get over to see this in person.

    All the best to you and yours

    Willie Anderson

  3. Congratulations to your daughter on her commissioning as a 2LT in the Army of the United States. A major achievement on every level.

    It's so hard to lose a good friend, companion and a member of the family. We've had dogs ever since I was a toddler and I miss them all.

    Are you able to share the modifications that you made to "The Men Who Would Be Kings”?

  4. Thanks to Anonymous, Anonymous #2 (AKA: Willie Anderson!) & William Stewart for taking the time to leave your kind messages!

    William: With you in mind I definitely will share the TMWWBK mods we use at the Mesa convention! They are still a Work In Progress, but we've been running play-tests and have 3 weeks to go and I'm pretty confident they'll provide a fun and at least somewhat suspenseful game.

  5. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing how your mods work and how the game turns out.

  6. Lovely story about your dog, congratulations to your daughter and have fun at the convention!
    Best Iain caveadsum1471