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Saturday, 31 January 2009

Oh dear, oh dear...

Ok, this ain't a wargaming post. Sorry, but I can't believe what I just saw on telly a few mins ago...

That bloody Eurovision thing where Lloyd Webber is writing the song that's gonna win us the title?

Ok, so his Royal Ugliness did the smart thing and roped in Diane 'I wrote just about all the best 80's power ballad AOR pop/rock tracks' Warren to help him...bloody genius move that. The girl is a phenonemanl pop songwriter. I know some folk think of it as sanitized pap, and they may be right, but when it comes to pop/rock songs that sell bucketloads, our Di is the one...

So tonight we get to hear this masterpiece of musical genius that will, doubtless, win the big Euro contest...

Well, I have news for Mr Lloyd Knobhead... That song is the most over pompous, West End theatre-ised poop I have heard in a long while. The thing sounds like it was written for a show in a second rate London theatre!! By the sound of it, Ms Warren may have written the chorus (by far the best bit of it!) but the verse is all typical Lloyd Webber show stuff and with the big schmaltzy production and that oh-so-formulaic key change....I just wanted to throw something at the telly....

Last place and 'nul points' beckons again, methinks...

Oh well, time to go and dig out those 80's John Waite, Cher, Bad English and Aerosmith CDs to hear Ms Warren in all her glory again...

On the painting front, a break from all things WAB....I have just assembled the models for a new Mordheim warband. I've gone with Norse...a rather less 'chaotic' Chaos Marauder-type warband, which has been fun with the old plastic glue and stuff. Did me a cool conversion of a 'Wolfen/Ulfwerenar' (depending on what version of the list you read) from a Chaos hound body (top half and legs) and a plastic Marauder's arse, along with a LOT of Greenstuff...

At our club, we usually start with 700 point warbands rather than the official 500, as it gives folk a chance to upgrade a few models and means that you get interesting lists quickly, rather than waiting for 8 games before your warband becomes cool.

Pics to come eventually....

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Cold Steel or 'How I Know Why The Last Roman Enclave in the West Fell!!'

So I went to Cold Steel (Bloody B*stard FREEZING Steel, actually...brrrr!!!!!) with My Romano-Gauls determined to win at least one game and hoping for a place about 2/3 to 3/4 down the table at close of play. How did I do? Well, the title may give you some idea, and if you've read the Gripping Beast frontpage, you'll also know. For those who haven't, here is the tale of fun and laughter amidst great woe and gnashing of teeth...

Comes Paulus sent his 750pt scouting force out into game 1 and met up with 750pts of Saxons led by Scrivs, he of the Normans who kicked my ass at Hot Lead.
The aim of the game was to claim the objective (a standing stone dead centre of table) after turn 3. The rule being that, after turn 3, if one had a unit touching it and the enemy couldn't contact it (the objective, not the enemy touching it - a teeny loophole in the scenario, IMHO...not that it matters, you understand, but just thought I'd mention it...) it was game over!!
So, I went second (yup...first bad dice roll of the day!!) and already could see a problem, as Scrivs went rushing for the objective faster than me (movement 5 Saxons...) ..his view being, run past it and block me off. So, I thought, better to attack than sit and be blocked or attacked. So I did...everything charged...and killed nothing! My attack stalled (I forgot that javelin armed troops on a hill use massed archery...neither the surviving commanipulares - javelined to death - nor the Franks could hit a thing...)
Within two turns, everything was dead...everything... Scrivs scored 1149 points and I scored 0...Horrible!! Scrivs kept apologising, bless 'im and I was laughing at the sheer stupidity of it..every attack dice I rolled failed to hit, every break/panic test I rolled went bad...!! Anyway, it was so bad, so horribly one-sided, that we replayed it 'for fun' and even though the 'loophole' meant I lost again, we just kept playing and by end of turn 6, the Romano-Gauls were in possession of the field... I felt a bit better!!!

On to Game 2: Flank attack. Self-explanatory scenario, although one could hold off from making a flank attack if one wished, with one's 'flank force' arriving on one's own table edge in turn 3. As there was a possibility of the flankers never arriving (roll a 1 on turn 5 onwards...) I opted not to flank...some of you know me and ones on a D6!!! This game was full 1500pts and saw me against Tom Webster-Deakin's (TWD on the WAB forum) Saxons. This was more like it!! By turn 3, I was looking in trouble (again). I had Franks fleeing (I am gonna see the paymaster about hiring some other hairy-assed barbarians at this rate!) and the Saxon flankers were on. However, a titanic struggle erupted in the centre where my Commanipulares and the Saxon Gedriht got stuck in. Here's Tom's Gedriht, awaiting the onslaught...

Next to it is a wide-angle view at the same moment, also showing my Franks bravely b*ggering off while my cavalry actually threaten to do something useful (knowing my skirmishers are about to get mullared.)

It was a slug-fest...the Cyning killed my Comes in a challenge. I survived the panic tests and my ASB took over, finally finishing off the Saxon king (the Comes had inflicted 2 wounds before being hacked down) having killed his opposite number in a challenge too!! Huzzah!!!! Having 'Loyalty' was a TOTAL bonus, as I lost the combat in round 2 of this fight, but loyalty kept me in it and with the death of the Cyning, Saxons began to flee. I'd turned it around!! By end of game, I had won by almost 700pts. It had been a cracking game, swinging this way and that, and Tom was a great fun chap to play...we had a blast!! The Franks were totally shite, though...heavy throwing spears were not much use in this game...!!!!
So, two games down and 1 victory, 1 massive defeat. Not bad.

So to game 3: Outscouted... Basically, I lost the outscout roll and had to deploy my whole army, leaving my opponent (Martin the organiser) to deploy afterwards. He had Romano Brits - an odd army. No commanipulares, but a shedload of milites and pedyt, all armoured, large shield and thrusting spear, with one unit of equites and LOADS of shooty stuff/skirmishers.
I didn't play this very well, as I decided that going headlong into that shieldwall wouldn't be great. So I attempted to outmanoeuvre and outflank...with far less units and troops than Martin had!! Doh!!! It was obviously doomed to failure, but I did manage to entice 1 unit of milites into combat out of shield wall and that was where it got silly. My charge angle was not great, so only my general and one other figure (3 others in round 1) could 2 round of combat, despite hitting & wounding on 3's, I had scored no wounds!!!! It was shocking! Eventually, I did carry the combat, but it summed up my luck from game 1 and indeed the day. At game end, I felt that I'd basically saved what could have been a disaster but should have been better. I won by 260 odd points. Puny, but still not a defeat...and Martin's a nice chap to play against, even if he does keep getting WAB 1.5 and WAB 2.0 mixed up...yes, he's obviously a playtester, but I promised I wouldn't let on about the thing he let slip, even though it's only very 'tiny'!!!! :-)

Then to Game 4: Rearguard. 1000pts of me versus 1500 of hideous later Saxons - sorry..can't remember the player's name, but he had a killer painted army of Almoravids at Hot Lead!!!
Anyway, I just had to survive...why, oh why didn't I have my Welsh cavalry instead of slow Romano-Brit foot!!???? Anyway, I chose to deploy where a hill gave me some chance of a shieldwall protected by woods, but it was a waste of time. He had his Gedriht mounted with mtd raider and shot the hell out of me, while I couldn't get him to fight when I wanted him to, with him eventually charging in to finish it off..his infantry were still out of touch, but some mtd Duguth were skirmishing up my rear (ooer). He challenged my Tribune...who foolishly accepted (well, it is Age of Arthur) and was slaughtered. The whole army then failed its panic rolls and ran, to either be chased down in pursuit or charged down while fleeing. I lost by about 1600pts to 36 (I killed a unit of slingers!!!) I was stupid really. My commanipulares had loyalty, so if I'd have accepted the challenge with the ASB, they'd have held and it may have been a bit different (although he told me he had Hail of Blows ready for the next round of combat...5 attacks hitting on 4, wounding on 2...ouch!!)

So, another colossal defeat, meaning that, although several players lost all 4 games or 3 games and I only lost 2, I actually came LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!
Still it didn't matter! In fact, it was a bonus, as I won a pack of saxon models for coming last - the 'casualties and killers' pack by GB - marvellous!!!

I think that the army selection was partly at fault really. I tried to play aggressively with an army that is far better suited to defence. They are too slow to get the drop on Saxons, etc (8" charge against 10" for the enemy and you have to keep the Franks in check otherwise the battleline fragments...). I'd have been better with mtd commanipulares (knight commander & professional) and more units...and thrusting spears on the infantry. I could then have held a shieldwall centre and outmanoeuvered with kick-ass would have been better tactically and would have suited my style of WABbing better, I think. The Franks look lovely, but not in this army!! They'll be used again, but masquerading as Saxons alongside some Welsh probably at some point!!!!

I also had some atrocious dice rolls at crucial moments in games 1, 3 and 4 - we all have them, but I excelled myself today! Martin couldn't believe it in game 3!!!

Also, I didn't play terribly tactically in game 3 and in game 4, made a stupid heroic decision...

Best news of the day was that Wargames Illustrated magazine had their official photographer there and he took LOADS of pics of my army for the mag, voting it 'best painted army' (I won a year's subscription to the mag!!) and Rob Broom took my army away to Nottingham to be photographed to go in the WAB 2.0 rule book! How cool is that!!!!!!????? Marvellous news indeed and I do feel a little bit proud, I must admit. I shall bask in the limited glory that allows for a while..after all, I can't bask in any gaming glory, can I? :-)

So, all in all, a bloody great day as always, despite the result!! Won 2 (well, won 1 and drew 1 really) and lost two, so no worse than usual in some ways, but the severity of the defeats meant last place!!! But as you all know it's not about that. It's about the fun and I certainly had that, as always!! Thanks to all my opponents, to GB and Martin for the organisation (oy...where woz the early morning donuts, boys??) Here's to Hot Lead in the summer!!!
Here's some more pics from various games...First, James Morris' Irish...
and various unidentified other shots...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Romano-Gallic Army, 460-486AD

This is the army I'm taking to Cold Steel next week. It's meant to represent the army of the Roman enclave of Aegidius and Syagrius in Gaul around 460-486AD. As a result, it's a predominantly Roman army with Frankish allies and is taken from the Age of Arthur Romano-British 'Twilight of Britannia' lists, as recommended by the authors for the Romano-Gallic armies of the period.
First, here's the General: Comes Paulus Aurelianus (the 'Count Paul' from Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks).

Here is the Army Standard: Decurio Quintus Ambrosinus.

Now the Commanipulares: Legio Honoriani Gallicani:

Now the Roman infantry (milites): Auxilia Gallicani Iuniores:

Here is the Frankish Antrustio Marcomir and his Franci: Foederati Franci:

And now a shot of the whole army. The cavalry and skirmishers have appeared elsewhere on this blog amongst my Welsh army.

All models by Gripping Beast. All banners and shields hand painted as always.

You can look forward to a report after Cold Steel. So far the army has played 3, won 2, lost 1!!!!