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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Romans Rampant!!

Just lately, Cameron (who just turned 8 years old...8...where has the time gone?!) has been enjoying playing Rome Total War on my Mac and, as the other weekend included a Saturday with a deluge of almost Old Testament proportions, we decided to combine toy soldiers with Rome Total War and play 'Romans Rampant'!!!

Yes, we dragged out Dragon Rampant and played it with Late Republican Romans! Both forces were identical with 4 units of legionaries (offensive heavy foot), one of which was the 'commander', which meant we stuck a nice 'genera;' figure with the unit as a reminder; 1 unit of Gallic horse (heavy riders, or whatever DR calls them); 1 unit of either Cretan archers or Balearic slingers (scouts) and a unit of auxilia (Greek peltasts/Spanish Caetrati types) which we classed as bellicose foot.

We attempted to design a special rule to give the legionaries the pilum, but it was crap, so I won't bother explaining my failings!! cavalry and bellicose types also had short range missiles, although I soon realised that given their wild charge, this was pointless for the latter (I wasn't having a good day, clearly).

We reduced the distance between units from 3" to 2" (which looked better) and adopted the TMWWBK approach to activation, so failure didn't end the turn - far better when playing with an 8 year old!

Anyway, we set up a standard bearer model in the middle of the table as an 'objective' and off we went!

In the event, it was fun to move some models and roll some dice, but the identical forces did make it a bit 'best dice wins', although tactics and deployment did play a part. We enjoyed it and it passed an afternoon that otherwise was boring us due to the monsoon outside and nothing of excellence on telly!!!  Here are some pics...

Next time we may try another 'pilum' rule, perhaps something like allowing legionaries to re-roll 1s in the first round of combat for each unit...needs more thought...

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Great Arthurian Repair Project, Colonial Updates and Kings of War...phew!

Just a quick update tonight...

Firstly, after my...ahem... 'slight accident' involving the road and a large box of my beautiful Arthurians a month or so ago, I am pleased to report that all bar 4 of the damaged cavalry are now fixed (barring a wee bit of varnish and Dullcote). This is good, as I want to field them in next week's club Kings of War campaign game!! There are still about 25 infantry in need of a few fixes, but nothing as major as the cavalry - mostly just new spears or bows to paint.

Talking of Kings of War, here's my latest model for the Kingdom of Brythonia, a small kingdom near the Mammoth Steppes...and here's their Warbeast, a faffing great mammoth, courtesy of West Wind miniatures (albeit minus its Dwarf crew!) Apologies for cruddy pics...just snapped 'em quickly with the phone.

Eventually, this will be crewed by this fella (the one with the mahoosive axe!) from the brilliant Barbaric Splendour Barbarians Kickstarter that I have pledged for. I may also add a few old Grenadier barbarians to the crew as well (I intend to do a barbarian war band for Dragon Rampant, you see, so this will get dual use...)

Finally, my good friend Andy MacTaggart and I convened at the club on Monday to do the first play test of the 'Men Who Would Be Kings' game we are taking to Hereward Wargame Show this year. A couple of teaser shots you can see, we have temporarily departed from the NW Frontier in 1897 and have gone back in time 12 years to 1885 in the Sudan! Watch this space for more details as play tests continue!!! 

That's all for now. Back next week for a full Kings of War batrep, all being well!! Toodle pip!!!!

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 13: Pilgrimage - The Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert

"Verily, Our Lord has smiled on the kingdom this day! Many are His blessings that shall fall upon those who did fight with such bravery! Surely also, a special place in Heaven doth await those who did die saving St Cuthbert's Holy Undersmock! Oh, glorious day!" 

Thus spake Bishop Augustine after a fierce affray on the great West road this day. Rumour of Saex raiders had caused His Holiness to order the transportation of a most holy relic, the Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert, from it's chapel on the coast of the Northern Sea, to be brought to safety inside Caer Lerion, to the church here. 

The Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert...having already lost the Holy Knucklebone of St Cadwyr to the Saex, 'twas unthinkable that this second and most holy of relics should fall into barbarian hands. It is said that St Cuthbert, while on evangelical duty in the kingdom of the Franks, did suffer capture by a barbarian warlord. After much torture, he did still refuse to deny his faith and so, the warlord did order him thrown from the cliffs into the sea wearing nothing but his undersmock. It is said that Our Lord had not yet finished with St Cuthbert and thus did the Holy Undersmock balloon with air and upon this makeshift float, St Cuthbert was thus taken across the Northern Sea to make landfall on the coast of the kingdom whereupon he did build a small chapel and from whence he did administer to his flock. The undersmock has been kept in the chapel since that day and record of it was made by my father, Municipus Librarius, though, truth to tell, there has been some doubt about the tale. There are those who do state that my father's hand was poor and that his spelling weak. Indeed, the Tribune Andrucius has been heard to mutter that mayhap the Holy Undersmock may not actually be a relic at all and may well be more in need of the attentions of a seamstress... These words must never reach the ears of the Bishop, however...

Anyway, on this day, a small band of monks did escort the Undersmock in its wooden case on the back of a small pony cart, accompanied by Lord Geraint and the milites of the kingdom ready to meet the Tribune and the remainder of the force for the march to Caer Lerion.  However, word must have reached the dreaded Saex, for a vanguard of their hearth guard did approach the convoy, swiftly followed by the remainder of their force. 

Quickly, the Lord Geraint did launch a pre-emptive assault on the Saex, but they did withdraw  awaiting further reinforcement.  Luckily, the Tribune had not been tardy in his march and within minutes, had formed shield wall with Geraint, facing down the Saex Lord and his hearth guard  and further warriors who did jointhe formation. 

While this face-off did happen, the diminutive Decurio Maximus Minimus did lead the levy to the aid of the convoy. Alas, for all his haste, Maximus did initially fail to reach the convoy before two groups of Saex warriors did slaughter the monks and capture the wagon! They did turn tail to run with the relic, but the diminutive Decurio did move the levy apace, crashing into the rear of the Saex, crushing their formation and recapturing the Holy Undersmock! The Saex did flee in disarray! 

At that same moment, the Lord Andrucius did launch a huge assault on the Saex Lord's formation. The fight did swing back and forth, with many men falling to bloodied spear thrust and hacking blade, but truly, Our Lord was with the tribune this day and the assault of the Saex did falter and fail. Licking their wounds, they did withdraw from the field, leaving the tribune to count the cost while Mximus Minimus did bring the Holy Undersmock into Caer Lerion! This is the second time in  as many engagements that the diminutive Decurio did take major part in the victory. A second Garland of Bravery has therefore been awarded to the Decurio for his part in this victory.

This was a play test for the second scenario written by Mike 'Trouble at t'Mill' Whitaker for the upcoming Dux Compendium. As you can see from the words of Publius Librarius above, we approached this game with all of the usual seriousness we bring to these things!! The game played out very well indeed, which is testament to Mike's scenario-writing skills. We needed to tweak some wording along the way, but the basic scenario idea seemed very sound. Somewhat unusually, this game saw me gain an excellent hand of cards including two 'Step Forth' cards that allowed Tribune Andrucius to muscle in ahead of the Saex Lord in two vital combat rounds. Even then, cruddy dice nearly messed it up for me, but I managed to gain the upper hand and, once again, shield wall saved my bacon.

It needs play testing again, but overall, another keeper, methinks! Here are some pics...

Initial setup. The convoy enters on the road on the left and has to exit opposite. It travels 6" per turn, activating after all the cards are dealt but before any uncommanded groups activate.

The Saex vanguard threatens the convoy...

The Milites form a hasty shield wall to protect the convoy...

The relieving force begins to arrive...

Quick, men! To the road!

The British shield wall has formed while the levy race the Saex warriors to the convoy...

Who will strike first?

Massacre! The Saex slaughter the monks and the Holy Undersmock of St Cuthbert is in their hands!

Revenge! Maximus Minimus slams the levy into the rear of the Saex formation, recapturing the Holy Undersmock! Hurrah!

The Saex, badly mauled, flee the field. Rear charges with carpe diem cards don't half kick arse!!!

Combat! The Hearthguards clash (sorry the pic isn't at the right angle!)

Phew...that's a anybody actually fight again now???!!!

It's even worse now...formations shattered, death all around...The Saex are crumbling...

All over bar the shouting now...

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Kings of War Campaign game 2

So, last night was campaign night! My 3rd game (second in the campaign) of Kings of War. As my Arthurians are being repaired, I dragged out the El Cid models for the evening. I also decided to, err, 'customise' myself a hero on a 'winged beast', so up into the loft I went to drag out the old 4th edition WFB High Elf dragon ( long since missing its Prince Imrik rider) and onto this I blu-tacked (yeah...I know!) a Foundry Norman knight I'd painted years ago for an 11th century Saga Welsh force that got abandoned. I painted him a shield in the El Cid colour scheme and 'Bob was the proverbial uncle'. At least, it would do as a temporary measure... I do quite fancy painting an Arthurian hero to place atop the beastie as the Dragon imagery in my Arthurian banners would go well with an enormous red dragon model!!

Anyway, the army I took was different this week. As well as the winged beastie, I took a mtd hero with Diadem of Dragons giving him a breath attack and 2 wizards. I took 3 regiments of knights, one with a terrain negating item, one with 'nimble' so it behaves like light horse and one with 'The Fog' so the impact of enemy shooting against is reduced. They were supported by 2 troops of light horse, a phalanx horde and an archer horde and, of course, my war mammoth!

I ended up in a 3-way game against Mike W and his Kingdom of Men force and Grahame who was fielding a Kingdom of Dust (or something like that) undead army - basically WFB Tomb Kings. We set up on a 8 x 6 table and off we went with a 'kill 'em all' scenario.

After last week's humiliation, this was very different - unpleasant though it was, the hefty defeat had taught me lot about KoW. I had read up on flyers (and how to deal with them, though that wasn't necessary in this game.)

We didn't get many turns in as 3-way games take a while, but it was essentially a drawn game, with none of us scoring over 10% of the army total difference over each other, although I can closest, being 10pts short of beating Grahame. Highlights included my mammoth facing down the undead Behemoth (essentially a skeleton Triceratops). The mammoth got flanked by skeleton light horse which saw its demise, but I was then able to frontally charge the Behemoth with knights, while flanking it with the general on winged beast...cue dead Behemoth!! On the other flank, Mike managed to sandwich the undead chariot horde with his own chariot horde, a knight horde and 2 units of guard infantry!! Cue about 135 attacks on the undead! We proceeded straight to the nerve test!!

Overall, a more balanced game. It was quite fun and I'm learning much more about how the troops move and how to get things working. I still suspect that in a game against the more experienced players, I'll get proper mullared but at least I'll have more idea of what I'm doing. Still not sure my army is that well balanced the way I picked it tonight, although it felt better than the last twice I have played.

Here's a couple of pics from the game last night.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Great Arthurian Repair Project...and Kings of War

Yes, all the models from last Monday's 'unfortunate incident' now have spears replaced and the job of going over them to 'black out' the chipped parts (and undercoat the new spears) has begun! This is a shame as it has deflected my attention from the unit of Elves I was about to do for my Dragon Rampant Wood Elf force and, more importantly, the start of my big Indian Mutiny project that I am really looking forward to doing.

Still, I need the Arthurian models for a War & Conquest event in September and they are doing double duty as my Kings of War army (although El Cid knights will be called up for duty for tomorrow's campaign game) so I need to bite the bullet and get the done.

Speaking of Kings of War, there'll be more on that shortly. I lost an entire 2000pt army in 4 turns last week in possibly the least enjoyable wargame I have ever had. The fact that this was largely down to being beaten by the rules and army selection worries me, although unfamiliarity with rules mechanisms doesn't help. Still, the chap I played did tell me that, of the 3 games he'd played, I was the only person thus far to destroy even one of his units, so that was a tiny bonus (and he's a lovely chap too, so it wasn't like being gloated over by some tournament crazed buffoon, far from it.)  He played with The Brotherhood, essentially Brettonians... It was rather like the battle of the Somme, as I advanced into the teeth of 60 arrow shots per turn (all armour piercing as well). The archers also count as a phalanx because of the 'stakes' they deploy, so negate knights' charges. Ok...fair enough on first turn of combat, but these guys always count as phalanx, so even if they've been pushed back (and away from their stakes, of course) they STILL negate your knights' 'Thunderous Charge' in subsequent turns...very silly!!! Anyway, he had 2 hordes of these, 2 siege catapults and 2 regiments of kick-ass knights. But the worst thing was the 2 heroes on pegasus that aren't 'individual' heroes  but count as Monstrous cavalry (so they can happily fly into the rear and they then get triple attacks on you!) AND he had taken a horde unit of the same sort of thing as well. I could do nothing but watch as I was systematically taken apart, unit by unit. Even when I did get into combat, my knights were so shot up that the enemy archers routed them in a counter charge (my own charge being weakened by the bloody phalanx rule!) Ignominious defeat...

Still, it was fun fielding the new (partly painted...another thing I can't finish cos of the repair project) giant War Mammoth... It kills things fairly adequately and looks IMMENSE. Pictures when it's done, I promise!!

Anyway, campaign game 2 tomorrow. No doubt I'll be the target of various pre-battle political things so that could end up being interesting!! I suspect that using an historical army in this campaign will prove my undoing as it lacks enough nasty stuff (especially flyers) to enable me to deal with the horrible things in my opponents' armies. I also suspect that the lack of archer models I possess will be a downfall as well, as shooting seems to be a key thing in these rules - possibly far too important given that it's based on typical Fantasy warfare...

Well, that's enough rambling on for a Sunday morning. I plan to sort out the terrain boxes today - bought some new trees and new stone walls at Partizan last week and need to cull the damaged old stock from my collection and repackage it for easy storage...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Disaster Update...

Thank you for your many sympathetic comments!! My misery has now been replaced with embarrassment at being such a clumsy muppet!!

Having stayed up into the wee small hours I can confirm that all is not so bad. Only 3 models are virtually beyond repair and that's a combination of weakened horse limbs and the fact that the horses were painted so long ago that I no longer remember what shade of brown I used and anyway, GW don't make those shades any more! I do have spare unpainted horses, though ...

9 cavalry models and 6 infantry need new weapons and repairs to minor chipping of paint. A further 16 cavalry and about 12 infantry need repairs to minor paint chipping.

So, it could have been MUCH worse!!

Monday, 23 May 2016


Just dropped my box of Romano-British cavalry models onto the had no lid on it!!!

28 beautifully painted cavalry models in major disrepair... Spears and shields broken, paint chipped everywhere... Horses legs snapped off bases so may have to be chucked...

I am devastated...5 years of painting on and off, just shot to hell. Goodness knows when or indeed if I'll be able to get them repaired...

To quote Captain Darling from Blackadder...

"I put in note in my diary this morning Blackadder...It simply said 'Bugger'..."