Friday, September 15, 2023

CAMERONE: Not Men but Demons! MINI-WARS convention Buena Park, CA Sat Oct 14


My friends & partners in miniature wargaming crime, "Last Stand" Dan Gurule and Shawn "CAPT SHANKS" Hutson and I are bringing our 28mm Camerone extravaganza out and about one last time to celebrate this year's 160th Anniversary of the Legion's iconic last stand that pitted 49 officers and men of the 3rd Company, 1st Battalion of the Foreign Regiment (the Legion had recently been reduced in size to a Regiment and was officially referred to as such at the time) defending the hastily fortified Hacienda de la Trinidad against approximately 2,000 Mexican Juaristas of all shapes and sizes -- Infantry and Cavalry Regulars, National Guard, local Militia and local Bandits -- attacking the same.

As before, our game will again use the popular The Men Who Would Be Kings colonial rules published by Osprey, with modifications to fit the scenario and to speed up convention play.  It pits 49 French Foreign Legion vs. approx. 350 Mexicans, all nicely-painted Wargames Foundry figures, fighting over some pretty nice terrain, the standout feature of which is the Hacienda de la Trinidad built by the somewhat legendary Chris The Model Maker.  This will probably be the last time I take this model out to be enjoyed by the public for the foreseeable future, in celebration of this year's 160th Anniversary of the 1863 battle.  I may do so again in another 5 or 10 years, but who knows.  So I encourage anyone and everyone in Southern California (and beyond?) who's interested in an intense fight to the finish game... the 1862-1867 French Intervention in Mexico... the French Foreign Legion's iconic last stand... and/or awesome-looking but also gaming-friendly 28mm scale buildings to join us on Saturday October 14th and take up the wooden hand of Capt. Danjou or the leather gauntlet of Colonel Milan!

The convention is set to run from 9am to Midnight on Saturday Oct 14th & from 9am to 7pm on Sunday Oct 15th at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Buena Park, located at 700 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620.

Our Camerone game is set for 10am to 5pm with a brief lunch-break included, and last time I checked 4 of the 7 player slots were still open and available.

Here's a LINK to the HMGS-PSW Mini-Wars convention homepage:

...a LINK to the Event Registration page for our Camerone game:

...and last but not least a LINK to the hotel website:

The Buena Park DoubleTree is located a short 10 mins. drive from Disney Land in Anaheim, a little longer but still short (at least in Southern California terms!) 1/2-HR drive to picturesque Huntington Beach Pier, and less than 1/2-HR drive from LAX Airport -- in case anyone is looking for a last-minute hobby destination prior to Halloween.

Last time we ran this game at the Sand Wars 2023 convention in Mesa, Arizona it was -- if I don't say so myself -- a big success.  all the players and all of us GM's had a great time and despite the extremely unbalanced forces, much excitement, competition, suspense, and most important of all FUN was had by everyone involved.  Obviously I am no objective judge but I heartily recommend coming out to join us next month if possible!  There will be a wide variety of other awesome games ranging from Ancients to Moderns, plus Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as well as several Tournaments including Bolt Action and DBA.  So even if you're not into Mexico or the French Foreign Legion or desperate last stands, if you're a miniature gamer you should be able to find something to your liking!  So one way or another, if you're a fellow hobbyist in Southern California who doesn't already have something else scheduled for that weekend, I hope to see you there!

Finally I will leave you with some very nice pics taken by my good friend Matthew Rigdon who is a talented photographer with a very good camera and who also attended Sand Wars in Mesa this past Spring, and which I should have posted here on this "All Camerone all the time" blog months ago -- but better late than never:

And if you enjoyed looking at those here's a LINK to a bunch more:

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Some CAMERONE 160 Play-Test Pics

In preparation for this Saturday's game at SAND WARS in Mesa, AZ, I've gotten 2 full-blown play-tests in.  Before that my buddy Nick Stern ran one up in his NorCal neck-of-the-woods prior to coming down here to SoCal to play the first of my two, all using the same The Men Who Would Be Kings rules, with evolving Modifications for both (A) the specific scenario & (B) trying to speed up and simplify things for Convention play.

The games here at my place have both gone pretty well, with advantage shifting back-and-forth until a certain point is crossed and the Mexicans gain the inevitable upper hand.  But in the strategic/operational context, if the French players can hold on long enough (as they did at the real battle) they will prevent the Mexican brigade from moving on to ambush the convoy traveling from Vera Cruz to Puebla, carrying gold to pay the French army, siege artillery and ammunition, all of which was vital to the French war-effort.  But if the Mexicans can get over and/or through the walls fast enough, they'll have a chance to proceed with their long-planned operation of ambushing the convoy along the road off the table to the East.

I'm so busy prepping and packing to leave this Friday I can't spare the time to give detailed AARs for the play-tests, but maybe I'll manage that when the con is over -- in addition to an AAR from the convention game itself.  Keep hope alive!

This is just a handful of highlights, almost all from towards the end of the last play-test...

Saturday, April 8, 2023

CAMERONE 160th Anniversary game Sat. April 22nd at Desert Wars 2023 in Mesa, AZ



Coming Saturday May 21st at HMGS Pacific-Southwest's...

Sand Wars 2023

At the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, AZ:



“Not Men but Demons!”

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 CamarĂ³n (“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 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).


More details to follow soon...

Thursday, April 30, 2020


Greetings fellow fans (and the occasional foe) of La Legion Etrangere.

It's been far too long since I've posted here at CAMERONE DAY.  Sadly it's been far too long since I've played a wargame using my Camerone terrain.  Some day I shall return to the Counterpane version of 1863 Mexico, where 28mm size Legionnaires and Juaristas will again do battle across the walls of my Hacienda de la Trinidad, the deserted Inn across the highway road, the decrepit village, the Indian dwellings, and the nearby abandoned irrigation dam.  Until then wish any and all visitors to this site a HAPPY CAMERONE DAY, and that you and your friends and family and all those you care for stay safe and healthy during these difficult COVID-19 days.

To anyone serving on the front lines as a Doctor, Nurse, or other Healthcare professional, THANK YOU & GODSPEED!  And if you're a Cop or Firefighter or EMT, thanks for hanging in there.  And if you're an Essential Worker doing your job day-in and day-out, risking your health interacting with the rest of us while we buy food, drink, gas, hardware, ammo, and prescriptions, deposit and withdraw money at the bank, or driving your truck or working on the farm or at the slaughterhouse, or the warehouse, THANK YOU for allowing the rest of us to keep on trucking, so to speak.  I know you're doing it because you have to in order to make a living, but that doesn't change the fact that if you weren't still doing your job my family and I would have a hard time surviving.

Things could be a helluva lot worse.  We could be with the Legion at Camerone, with virtually no chance to get out alive.  On the other hand... even with all the blood, thirst, blazing heat, agony and death... that would be pretty cool.

I leave you with a LINK to a delightful yet perplexing Youtube video featuring the CHOIR OF THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION singing "Under Parisian Skies"...

And for a more traditionally CAMERONE appropriate tune, I offer up that ultimate Legion tune, Le Boudin...

Finally, if your interest in colonial wargaming extends beyond La Legion and Camaron, I invite to CLICK THE LINK BELOW and visit my Maiwand Day blog, where I'm currently posting about the scenario, army lists, terrain, and figures I'm prepping for a refight of the September 1st 1880 Battle of Kandahar, the last major action of the Second Afghan War:


Monday, April 30, 2018

Camerone Day 155: A "NOT MEN, BUT DEMONS!" AAR

To mark today's 155th anniversary of the Legion's defense of and the Mexican forces multiple assaults on the Hacienda de la Trinidad, known to history as The Battle of Camerone, I am happy to post this new battle report, of a very recent refight of the scenario, courtesy of my good friend Nick Stern.

Nick used the bespoke Camerone rules set "NOT MEN BUT DEMONS!" written by Rich Hasenauer & Michael Montemarano.

These are the same excellent rules used for the first play-test posted on this blog soon after the 149th Anniversary of the battle. We used them to great effect again on April 30th, 2013 for our big commemorative game on the 150th Anniversary. Since then Nick used them in 2014 for a similar game at his home in the South Bay (here's a handy LINK to that AAR for anyone who wants to check it out).  Also, in case anyone is interested, here's a LINK to our thoughts on the rules when Michael was still making adustments to them, before running his very impressive game at the 2012 Historicon which earned him the "Best of Show Game Master" award. Many thanks to Rich & Michael for sharing their rules with us back then and to Nick for allowing me to post this new Battle Report...

The only thing left to say is:

Opposed to an entire army
Its mass crushed them
Life rather than courage
Abandoned these French soldiers
In Camerone on April 30, 1863.

* * * * *
Via Nick Stern:

Not Men, But Demons
AAR South Bay Game Club April 14, 2018

We had six players, two French and four Mexicans. One Mexican player had played the game before, the rest had not. We began the game with the French inside the hacienda with the gates barricaded. There were six Mexican snipers on the second floor, otherwise all the other Mexican forces started 24” from the walls of the hacienda.

The French took the novel approach of not defending the gates or the breach and instead positioned themselves in the two sheds on the west wall between the gates, in the stable and in one of the enclosures on the east wall facing the breach. The remainder of their force, about half, were positioned in the lower floor of the hacienda, which was Danjou’s headquarters.

The dismounted Mexican cavalry came on in four twenty man companies, two from the west, heading straight for the gates, one from the south, heading for the breach and one from the east, heading for the undefended wall on that side. On the first turn the French were able to kill four of the Mexican snipers during their fire phase and killed the other two in hand to hand combat for the loss of one Legionnaire killed.

In the subsequent two turns the dismounted Mexican cavalry, unmolested by French fire, were able to dismantle the barricades barring the gates and the breach in preparation for an all out assault.

On the fourth turn the Veracruz battalion arrived and its five companies distributed themselves on the east and south sides of the hacienda. At the same time the dismounted cavalry companies entered the courtyard. For this turn and the next, the French strategy seemed to be working as the Mexican companies took heavy casualties from French fire.

The French expected the Mexicans to break, but they hadn’t read the rules’ fine print: No Mexican Straggling Inside the Hacienda! From now on full strength Mexican units continued to arrive through the gates and the breach.

Still, things weren’t going too badly for the French. The Mexicans seemed reluctant to melee the French (as historically) and their musket fire against the French in cover meant they only hit on a “6” with a fifty percent chance of the targeted Legionnaire being saved.

Unfortunately for the French, one of their commanders had a nasty habit of rolling “6” on the Fate Table, which resulted in dead, not wounded, Legionnaires. Also unfortunate, at the beginning of turn Seven, French fire effect was halved due to low ammunition. At this point the French decided to play a very defensive game and backed off from the windows and doors, not allowing the Mexicans a shot in, and waited for the Mexicans to come in after them.

The Mexicans methodically attacked, first, the stable and, next, the shed nearest the stable, firing and fighting hand to hand, losing three or more of their men for every Legionnaire killed, wounded or captured.

Things continued in this way until turn twelve, when I reminded the Mexican players that every unit in contact with the hacienda could attempt to start a fire by throwing flaming material through an open door or window.

I allowed one attempt per unit per turn.

They needed to roll doubles on two dice and the first Mexican player scored consecutive doubles on his first two attempts.

This started fires at the door on the north facing side of the hacienda and the window on the second story on the east side. I then gave the defenders a chance to put out the fire by rolling off against the Mexican player who had started the fire and the Legion player lost both rolls.

At this point the Legion players still had a good half of their strength in the hacienda and, after two further turns of successfully holding the three doors facing the courtyard against Mexican attacks (I visualized Pvt. Henry Hook in the flaming hospital in the movie Zulu) the Legion players finally acted audaciously and charged out of the burning building on turn fifteen!

There ensued a terrific melee, during which a further ten Legionnaires were killed or wounded and captured, but they took down three or four Mexicans for each of their own.

We called the game at the end of turn fifteen. There were still nineteen unwounded Legionnaires, including Lieutenants Villain and Maudet, Sergeant Major Tonel and Sergeant Palmaert, but they were now out in the open with no cover and out of ammunition. I am sure they would have taken another forty or sixty Mexican down had the fight continued. As it was, the final death toll for the Mexicans was 110. It would have been more had the French players defended the gates and the breach instead of allowing full strength Mexican units to enter the courtyard.

Here are a few more pics from the start of the game...

Thanks once more to Nick for putting on the game and allowing me to
post it here, and also to Rich Hasenauer and Michael Montemarano for
penning "NOT MEN BUT DEMONS!" - a great set of Camerone rules!

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Once again April 30th arrives on the calendar, and with it the 154th anniversary of the battle of Camerone.

I wish I had managed to organize a game on the day particularly as this year it lands on a Sunday, which might have made it relatively easy for lots of friends and fellow gamers to attend, but I am so busy with work and family that it was not to be.  

Still, I feel compelled to mark the occasion, and it turns out I have something new to post -- an AAR from my good friend Nick Stern...

A while back Nick was nice enough to send me this AAR, complete with some great photos of a smaller Camerone-style game he organized, GM-ed and played in up in the San Francisco Bay area, where he lives.

With the arrival of CAMERONE DAY, 2017, it seems fitting for me to get around to posting it.  One of these days -- perhaps next year? -- I will once again host a full-fledged 28mm refight of the battle, but for now I'm happy to be able to post Nick's battle report, which I sincerely thank him for sending my way:

Here are the photos from Nick's small in overall scale but extra-large in miniature scale Camerone game...

(see below!)

As you can see, some of the figures are very toy soldier-ish. I am tending to favor that look because the alternative is to go for all-out realism, which on 54mm figures can be crazy detailed.

The game started with ten legionnaires -- eight privates, one sergeant and one officer -- holding out against three (3) groups of five Mexicans, one each: (1) peasants, (2) dismounted irregular cav, and (3) regular infantry.

I ran the peasants as well as GM-ing.

As I had only two musket armed figures, I decided to sacrifice my three melee armed figures in a suicidal attack, while the infantry and cavalry were content to take pot shots from cover.

The legionnaires had a plus one in fire and melee combat so they took casualties at a slower rate than the Mexicans.

Halfway through the game the French had beaten the Mexicans to a standstill. So, to make things more interesting, I gave each Mexican player D6 reinforcements, results of which only totaled six more figures between us. But that was enough to tip the balance.

Meanwhile, the French were rolling a D20 each turn trying to reach 100 at which point I promised reinforcements. Toward the end, as the Mexicans came over the wall, I sent the French reinforcements in: five Chasseurs d'Afrique...

Unfortunately, they arrived too late to rescue the legionnaires, who had died to a man. 

There are several things I'd change, but over all it was a fun scenario!

Thursday, April 30, 2015


It's been almost a year since I've posted one word on this blog.  Honestly this is because what little hobby time I have available has all been devoted to working on the rather elaborate terrain for my November 6, 1879 Battle of Charasiab game, which I hope to complete in the near future, and whose consturction I've been intermittently chronicling over the passt few years over at

But Camerone Day lives on.

Today and tonight at Legion posts around the world, the modern-day spiritual descendants of the Company Danjou will commemorate the incredible accomplishment of those fifty men in the Hacienda de la Trinidad, where they fought for ten-hours against a total of two-thousand enemy soldiers and guerrilla fighters.  Despite all becoming casualties or prisoners, Company Danjou managed to accomplish their mission.  By tying up that vast number of enemy troops for the entire day, they prevented the gold convoy they were supposed to escort from being ambushed and taken by those same enemy forces.  If the Mexicans had one small field piece or mountain gun on hand or within reach, the battle would have gone very differently, but they didn't.  What Colonel Milan the Mexican commander and many of his officers and men did have, was an innate sense of decency, which led them to defend the handful of Legion survivors from the rage of their Mexican comrades, and treat them as honorable prisoners of war.

In honor of the memory of those men of the French Foreign Regiment (the Legion's official title back in 1863) as well their Mexican foes, both of whom stayed true to their missions despite almost unimaginable pain and suffering, I post these pics from the 150th Anniversary game we played on April 30th, 2013...