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Sunday 30 December 2012

Lord of the Rings Elves - Colour Scheme Test

Ok, so with new members at the club keen to revisit Lord of The Rings SBG and with my Tolkien interest reinvigorated by The Hobbit, I have dragged out all the GW Galadhrim models sitting in the depths of my painting pile with a view to getting some on the table. Not only that, but I have found some Saga battleboards online for LOTR AND I have a hunch it could be fun using Dux Brit mechanisms with Elves, Orcs, etc, so there is some method behind my madness.

Thing is, what colour scheme to use...

I didn't want a total carbon copy of the movie/GW scheme (and anyway, I mostly use Foundry paints and Army Painter dip now, so I'd never get an exact match) so I have had a think about possible schemes and painted up 2 archer models to see which I like best. One has a movie-themed golden armour approach and the other goes with Tolkien's descriptions and silver mail, etc. Both have a grey-ish clothing and cloak vibe going on (the cloak is Foundry Night Sky light) as that is what I think of as 'Elf' colours really...

I do think my Army Painter and highlight technique works well enough. For those who haven't read about it before:
White undercoat whole model
Undercoat mail black
Drybrush mail with relevant colours
Tidy up undercoat
Basecoat in flat bright colours
Brush on Army Painter Strong Tone
Add highlights with original basecoat colours
Brush on Testors Dullcote

The only difference this time was that the clothing got very fine highlights with a lighter shade to sharpen cloak folds, creases, etc and the armour on the silver guy got a final highlight AFTER Dullcoting, just to bring up some shine which I felt was lacking. I didn't feel the gold model needed it although I might add some now just to see if it adds anything. Also, the cloak decoration was added at the highlight stage, not at the basecoat stage.

So, what do you think? Silvery armour or Gold? I'm not sure...

So, if you have a preference, do let me know. The silver model screams 'Tolkien Elf' to me but the combination of bluey grey and gold on the other chap is very nice, however the gold seems a bit overpowering of the other colours and it's the lightest I have (GW Burnished gold). Decisions, decisions...

Thursday 27 December 2012

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 4 - Andrucius The Impaler

It is now early Spring in the 473rd year after the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. I, Publicus Librarius, scribe to his Royal Majesty King Mascuidius of Linnius do chronicle the days of kingdom and the coming of the dread Saex.

"Praise be unto the Most High God!!! A victory to match those of the great Caesar and the legendary legions of Rome!!!

The winter has been a merciful one. God has granted us a winter free from plague and with only moderate snowfall. Now, as spring brightens the air and the last of the snow is but a memory, the campaigning season opens. Lord Andruciuus has not been idle through the winter. He continues to put the levy through their paces, sending regular patrols north to the great River Humbre from whence the Saex usually come. He has strengthened the borders of the kingdom with watchtowers and the garrisons from these patrol the coast and the river border. Thus it was that Lord Andrucius did learn of the latest raid from the heathen, coming from across the Humbre intent on pillaging the villages nearby.

By forced marching from the East where the main army had wintered, Andrucius caught up with the enemy as they prepared to raid the village of Storicum-by-Humbre. The village nestles along the slopes of a large hill and the Saex approached through the valley, seemingly oblivious to the approach of the Lord Andrucius and his vanguard comprising the elite commanipulares and milites. The levy, led by Geraint and Maximus Minimus approached in reserve.

The battle that followed was a bloody and brutal affair. The main body of Saex advanced on the village while two groups of warriors, led by the same hulking drunkard who had previously despoiled the fair chapel of St Cadwyr, did assail the Lord Andricius' vanguard as it emerged from the Eastern marshes. The fight was fierce and deadly. The Lord Andrucius, wielding his blade with deadly skill, supported by his brave soldiers, slaughtered the heathen like wheat before the scythe, the combat ending as the Tribune's blade finally rent a mighty gash in the belly of the howling Seax hero sending him across the Bridge of Swords to his heathen gods! Verily was the rape of the fair chapel of St Cadwyr and the loss of his Holy Knucklebone avenged as the surviving Saex fled the field, dragging their dead leader with them.

While this happened, the remaining Saex, led by their heroes, continued to advance upon the village. At that moment, our brave levy arrived onto the field and, forming shieldwall at the edge of a wood, did mightily tempt the Saex Lord's hearthguard into action. Abandoning their advance on the village, the Saex lord's hearthguard did advance on the brave levy, while the remaining warriors and archers entered the village.

As the Saex lord's guard launched their assault, the levy braced their shieldwall and, encouraged by the mighty exhortations of the diminutive Maximus Minimus, held their ground against the very best that the Saex could throw at them. So well did the levy peform, that Anducius' depleted warband, having skirted the woods, came upon them from behind. Though their charge was at best lack-lustre, with many of the commanipulares suffering wounds in the fight, the Saex were bested and their formation broken. At this moment, the Decurio Geraint, who had joined with the milites, seeing his chance for revenge against his former captors, ordered a mighty volley of javelins as his men charged into the attack. Under this hail of missiles and, almost surrounded by our brave warriors, the Saex broke and fled, abandoning the field, the village and their dead, only escaping by virtue of the fact that our men were too exhausted to pursue.

Great was the victory, yet at its end did come a moment of darkness that lends a bitter aftertaste. The Decurio Geraint, still in the grip of battle-rage, did order that the bodies of the Saex that remained on the field should be mounted on spears and planted along the banks by the ford of the great river as a warning to the heathen. It is said that the Lord Andrucius did find this most distasteful, but did not countermand the order for fear of dampening the spirits of his men, which were greatly enhanced by the victory.

This was unbeknown to the populace who, on gaining news of the greatness of the victory did immediately give unto the Lord Andrucius the name of 'Impaler', a name which his Royal Majesty King Mascuidius has requested be written into the official records of the time. His Majesty has also finally recognised Lord Andrucius' promotion to Praefectus. This was achieved after the successful defence of Bleddig's farm almost a year ago, yet was not recognised due to the later defeats and uncontested raids later that year. His Majesty is a hard taskmaster, tis true!

So a most mighty victory has been won and the kingdom has gained a few short months grace, as the Saex lost many men in the fight, including their infamous drunken hero. The Praefectus Andrucius has gained aditional followers swelling the ranks of the milites so that one unit is now greater in number than before. However, the indignity done unto the Saex dead may well be our undoing for there will now be blood-feud between us as well as their insatiable desire for our land. I fear that this victory, great though it surely has been, may yet be our undoing..."

Battle Report:

Well goodness me!! What a humdinger of a game! I genuinely thought, when Mike rolled for 3 turns of movement and only 3 of my groups arrived on the field, that this was going to be a defeat!! As it was, it was a see-saw of a game that made me REALLY sorry I forgot my camera! I have a few pics taken on my (crap) phone, so I'll insert these into the text, but they aren't great!

First problem was the village location. Being in the top right hand corner meant that the Saxons had two table edges within inches of the houses. This meant that, if they successfully looted the houses, they could be off in one or two activations. Second problem was Mike's  3 turns of movement before I came on. Luckily he only threw 9s for pretty much everything, but that meant that his men were over a third of the way to their objective before I appeared. Then my force morale roll was as bad as it could get so I was on the lowest amount possible while the Saxons started one better. Add to that only 3 groups on for me and I was worried!!

The table at the end of Mike's pre-game moves
However, I think that this was where Mike maybe made an error - he seemed to forget the golden rule of Arthurian gaming - remember the scenario!! By turning Leofric's warband to fight me, he removed 33% of his force from potential looting. I was coming through a marsh and was suffering the effects on my movement and he could probably have outstripped me. Had I played the Saxons, I'd have made a mad dash for the village with everything I'd got to maximise my looting, knowing that, if I was successful, I was at worst 2 activations away from escape, with the British unable to fight me in shieldwall in the village. As it was, Mike got two units in and looted one house by the end. With even two more units, he'd have doubled his chances and would probably have won. He also turned the hearthguard to fight my levy, removing another 33% of his looters (although by then Leofic's band was toast). Still, it could so easily have gone his way even then as you'll see when you read on...And, if his dice had been average in the fight at the marsh, it might have rendered my force incapable of doing the damage it later caused, so okay, I concede it wasn't a 'mistake' Mike made..just a decent gamble that didn't quite pay off.

Anyway, the fight in the marsh went my way (eventually...we fought it twice as Mike activated them on the wrong noble card first time, utterly tw*tting my force, at which point I DID think I was TOTALLY screwed! However, we put it all back and did it properly!!) After a flurry of 'Step Forth' cards, I desperately tried to gain the advantage (and failed - I played one to leap into Mike's turn and he trumped it with another - curses!!). However, Mike's attack was blunted by less than average dice rolls and the combat went to successive rounds with poor Leofric eventually dying at the hands of the British warbands and all bar one of his 12 men dying with him!! Result - and it should have been, as 2 units of Saxon warriors had faced off against 2 of Briton warriors plus British elites and the warlord plus his champion! Saxon force morale plummeting!

The body of Leofric the Drunkard being carried from the field by a faithful retainer

The British warbands after the destruction of Leofric's forces
 My levy finally arrived and tried (successfully) to lure Mike's hearthguard and his warlord away from looting. By rights, the Saxon attack should have obliterated me, but Mike's dice failed him and the levy stood firm!! At least the Saxon warriors in the village had finally managed to loot one of the houses!!

By this time, I'd gotten Andrucius' warband round the woods and into action. It wasn't quite a flank attack, but I did have  a Carpe Diem hand -  a GOOD one!! However, these were my dice!!!

How many 1 and 2's (I had 'Aggressive Charge')???
Spectacular fail, made even more interesting when, rolling for milites casualties, I scored 4 ones (RESULT!!),

HA!! No casualties on the milites...will I repeat for the commanipulares? Not a bloody chance mate!!!
then said, " I bet it'll be 3 sixes for the elites.." which it was!! Three dead commanipulares, so they were down to one man (although no shock and Andrucius received a wound!!) Still, the combat had mauled the Saxons very badly, breaking their mass formation and forcing one group to be perilously close to losing its amphora. End of shuffled...who would activate first??

Now came the crucial point of the game.

It's looking bleak for the Saxons...
 Geraint (who had joined my milites on his previous activation) activated and, seeing that the Saxon hearthguard units opposite both needed only one more shock to lose their amphora (which would mean Mike's force morale going to at least zero), ordered one group to charge to the attack, causing one shock and sending one unit of Saxons fleeing with amphora lost, then, for his second activation, charging to the attack with his own unit playing 'A Strong Arm' to hurl missiles...cue two shock, lost amphora and force morale at -1!! Saxon army all fleeing and only my own desperately low force morale prevented me from pursuing and gaining a 6pt victory.

Game Over! Saxon force morale gone...
 So, a 5pt victory is massive - a mighty victory. However, had the activations occurred differently in that last turn, it could have been my force morale down to 0...had Mike been able to charge my wounded warlord and tiny unit of commanipulares, he could have achieved a victory by breaking my force.

This was a great example of everything that is so good about this game. The game was on a knife-edge throughout. The scenario was great (and played totally differently from the first time we played it) We both had some dire dice rolls (although Mike had more than his fair share) and the cards really came into their own - my tactical use of 'Strong Arm' being the game winner.

Once again, huge thanks to Mike for being the ever splendid opponent. We hope to reconvene next week to play the next game of the campaign...

Sunday 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Just a quickie to say a heartfelt 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year' to all my blog readers!! Thank you so mauch for your continnued support of my humble offerings throughout 2012 and into the next year! Without you, it'd all be pointless cos nobody would read it!!! :-)

Coming up just after Christmas, Chapter 4 of the 'Chronicles of Linnius', our Dux Britanniarum campaign. If you have read Mike W's posts about last week's mega game, you'll gave some idea of what to expect, so tune in later in the week for Publicus Librarius' history from the Briton perspective and a battle report.

Coming in the New Year, new painting. I have various bits on the go, so expect some Colonials, more French Indian War Stuff, more Arthurians and some Fantasy stuff...yes, I'm dragging out the LOTR Galadhrim I've had for donkey's years (prompted by a chap at the club wanting to play the SBG and by the movie 'The Hobbit' - which I thought was gtreat, btw, apart from the stoopidly overlong dwarf party in Bilbo's house...the Elves of Mirkwood and the Rivendell knights looked particularly marvellous for an Elf-obsessed Tolkien-ite like wot meself is...)

So, whatever you are doing over the holiday period, have a good one!!!!



Tuesday 27 November 2012

Bretwalda - WAB Age of Arthur Gaming Day, Peterborough 25.11.12

On Sunday, Peterborough Wargames Club hosted the Age of Arthur gaming day 'Bretwalda'. We had players from as far afield as Nottingham, Halifax and Folkestone, as well as a few from Yaxley and some from the club. There were 14 players in all and I MC'd the day (we had one chap pull out at the last, so I was unable to play, which was actually something of a blessing as I was knackered from playing gig with my band the night before and it allowed me to organise, score and support with queries.)

Our premise was simple:

1. Factions: This lends an element of team play to proceedings. With 14 players, it was 2 factions of 7. One faction represented the Britons under Vortigern, ably supported by Frank and Saxon allies. The other was the Saxon faction under Hengest who were trying to steal the British land.
2. Cardboard silver and gold crowns: Each faction leader wore a crown to denote their sovereignty. This added to the general fun and, as neither leader was 'usurped' during the day, they wore them all day...even to the pub at lunchtime...ahem....
3. A Map of Britannia. This was purely to aid the scoring system - there was no complex map movement. Each player owned a kingdom within their faction area. Each kingdom had 3 coloured pins representing provinces. If they lost a battle 'mightily', they surrendered a province to the enemy faction.
4. Chocolate Coins and cardboard treasure boxes: Representing faction wealth. If a player lost a battle in a close run defeat, he surrendered one gold coin from his faction's purse to the opposing faction
5. Doubles Games Pitched Battles in Round 1: Helps players who don't know each other to get involved and start talking - a great ice-breaker (learned from Scrivs' and Tom's game days...thanks chaps!) Obviously with 14 players, we needed a singles game too, so we set the kings against each other!
6. Scenarios: Games that actually meant something! We used some from the supplement, plus two written by Mike Whitaker and myself and one written by James Morris for an event I went to when Age of Arthur was first released. We allowed the kings to allocate their forces to the games in round 2 and 3.

Though I say so myself, it all worked rather well!!

Pics from Round 1 below...

The Map before we started
A view down the tables: Vortigern's crew on the left and Hengest on the right as you  look at it
Hengest (Phil M) in 'Warlord' mode
Dan's Romano Brits (well...actually my models) and Tony's Saxons line up against Andy's and Tom's Saxons
Grahame and Dave with the Franks (right) against Carl and Andy Mac with Saxons
Rival Kings face off...Vortigern (Scrivs, left) and Hengest (Phil, right)
Andy Mac dicing off in combat against Dave's Franks
Mike and Stephen survey the Romano-British/Welsh alliance facing them 
Battle is joined!!
The Crunch!!!
Pics from Round 2 below....

Dan and Tom in the Scouting clash - "we wants the hill and the pretty little hovel..."
Hengest (Phil) takes on Tony at the battle of Badon
Vortigern (Scrivs) takes on Mike in the woods of Cat Coit Celidon
Dave's Franks take on Stephen's Saxons in the cattle Raid (note Stephen's 'ghost' Duguth...)
Grahame's Franks take on Andy's Saxons trying to loot a wagon train with pilgrims near Wansford
Reuben tries to winkle Carl's Saxons out of the watchtower
Andrew's Romano-Brits defend Chester against Andy Mac's Saxons with the aid of some praying monks who add 2D6 'oracles' to his combat resolutions..if Andy Mac kills the Monks before the oracles are used up, they go to the Saxons

The map at the end of Round 2. Vortigern is gaining the upper hand...
Pics From Round 3 Below...

Andy Mac takes on Scrivs in the scouting clash
Grahame's Franks prepare to take Mt Badon from Mike
Dave's Franks take on Carl's Saxons in Cat Coit Celidon
Reuben's Welsh take on Andy's Saxons in the cattle raid
Andrew's Romano-Brits successfully defend the watchtower from Tom's Saxons
Stephen defends Chester against Tony in Saxon-on-Saxon action
Dan's Romano British take on Hengest's Saxons at Wansford
The map at the end: Victory to Vortigern!

So, the Vortigern faction won by virtue of taking more Saxon land, despite a heroic last ditch attempt from Hengest to rally his men to deeds of herosim...

The overall title of 'Bretwalda' couldn't have been harder-fought, as Scrivs (Vortigern), Phil (Hengest and Andrew Beer were all in first place with 9 scoring points (an ingeniously simple system) Overall victory went to Andrew because he won 3 mighty victories, whereas both Scrivs and Phil won two, but managed to kill an enemy general or two on the way...

Overall, most people seemed to have a lot of fun, which is the only way I measure success in these things! I would like to thank Tom and Scrivs whose own events at Eye of The Storm in the past year provided inspiration for us to have a go, to all at the club, but especially Mike, Grahame and Reuben for sterling organisational help and to all of the players who travelled from near and far to play toy soldiers with us. Here's to next year (I'm already plotting some ideas...)

Wednesday 21 November 2012

I won a Liebster award!!

Courtesy of the very kind 'Headologist' I have received the above accolade. Here is what he wrote:

"For Dark Ages wargaming galore, some great battle reports and possibly the most gorgeously coverted and painted Welsh and British Kingdoms miniatures there are - a great inspiration for my Spears of Mawdryn - check out Andy's blog."

Thank you very much indeed, sir! You are very kind.
I was also listed in the top 5 of Mr Mike 'Trouble At T'Mill' Whitaker (of whom, more later...) for which I am also very grateful.

I'm always genuinely pleased when my humble efforts are appreciated!

So, given that I have been awarded the accolade, I pass on to you the rules for these awards...

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.

2. Pass the award to your top 5 favorite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of there posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someone's day!

4. There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so.

I may struggle with time to put comments on all these to notify them (see bottom of post for why I'm a bit busy), they are...

My favourite 5 blogs (in no particular order):

Trouble At T' Mill My club-mate, fellow Age of Arthur and Dux Brit enthusiast and all-round fabulous chap Mike, whose sheer variety of post topics gains him the award. There is always something of interest on Mike's blog with so many fine details and he does write some rather cool narrative reports for our Dux Brit campaign!!

Tom's Toy Soldiers Tom gains the award for some of the most humorously entertaining battle reports you'll ever read. I always have a good chuckle when reading Tom's reports and recommend that you check 'em out if you haven't already done so, especially his WAB and Saga reports. If you aren't smiling afterwards, I'll be very surprised!!!

The Leutnant's Diary If you think I paint good Dark Age stuff, visit this blog for some truly epic freehand weathered shield designs and overall mastery of the brush whatever he is painting. Absolutely staggering stuff!!!

The Wargames Table Matt and I have followed each other's blogs for ages. He paints cool stuff and makes cool scenery. He's also well into War & Conquest, which, although I have never played, is clearly a rather fabulous alternative to WAB if you are sick of that particular game or are weeping at its demise and want a similar (but different enough) type of gaming experience.

Dr Phil Hendry's Blog  Ok, technically, this isn't a blogspot blog, but I have to mention it because this man has revolutionised my approach to painting. He has proved to me that the Army Painter dip is NOT just a load of stinky, sticky gloop, but is actually a superb painting tool. So much so that I now paint pretty much everything using it as I have completed nearly all my 'top drawer first choice show off my layer painting skill' armies and am now onto my 'get them looking good for the table and reduce the lead mountain' armies. Interestingly, since following Dr Hendry and adapting his technique to my own style, I have managed to strike just the right balance between 'decent painting speed' and 'models that look real nice'. If you remain unconvinced, check out Dr Phil's 3rd century Romans and Sassanids and be amazed!!! Also check out my FIW Native Americans and WW1 Brits to see how I have adapted Dr Hendry's technique...

So, there we are. Well done to all the above. There are LOADS of other great ones but the 5 above are my most frequently-visited...

Right...back to the painting table, as I have 25 more trees to base before our mega Age of Arthur WAB day on Sunday.

Toodle Pip!


Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 3: The Watchtower

It is now late summer in the 472nd year after the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. These are the words of Publicus Librarius, scribe to his most noble majesty King Mascuidius, ruler of the fair kingdom of Linnius and with these words I do provide a record of the Dark Days that heralded the coming of the Saex to our lands.

"It is now three cycles of the moon since the dreaded heathen Saex did despoil the fair Chapel of St Cadwyr and did cause grevious hurt to the noble Maximus Minimus. By God's grace, the Decurio has used the fair weather of our summer to bring himself to full fitness and is once again in the service of the Tribune Lord Andrucius.

At this time, the noble Tribune had tasked Maximus with garrisoning the watchtower on the Northern border of our fair land. This the Decurio had accomplished without incident, maintaining patrols of milites into the borderlands by the great river while continuing to train the militia.

On this particular day, the Tribune was paying visit to the Decurio to gain reports of the movements of the Saex, for more raids were expected into our kingdom at this time. Indeed this visit was well-timed, for in co-incided with the return of Decurio Geraint's patrol, an event that would normally be celebrated, but not this day!!

Coming hard from the West, a force of bestial Saex did set upon the forces of our kingdom, attempting to waylay the patrol as it returned to the tower. Summoning the levy and his Comitatus, the noble Tribune Andrucius did marshal the force for battle, hoping to draw the enemy away from the outnumbered patrol. In this he was at first successful. He did launch an instant attack on the brutes closest to the tower, recognising among their ranks by dint of the foul stench and raucous barbarian battle-song the same drunken oaf who had hitherto sacked the fair chapel of St Cadwyr.

The tribune's attack was pressed hard against heavy odds, but caused enough damage to the barbarians to allow the diminutive noble, Maximus Minimus, to fully atone for his disgraceful defeat at the chapel. In a furious flurry of spears, the militia took the revenge on the Saex, sending many to their heathen gods and the rest withdrawing from the fight. This noble action by the Decurio has been recognised by his majesty the king and the young man's name is now much reverred in the kingdom.

At this point, the nobel Tribune and the Decurio consolidated their defence, being unable to reach their fellows under Geraint, who found themselves beset by the Saex Lord's hearthguard. Despite valiantly trying to rally his shocked warriors in the ambush, the Decurio could not bring them to close with the Saex and the barbarians' subsequent assault destroyed our noble band. The last seen of the Decurio Geraint was his ignominious flight into the woodland, pursued by the enemy. A search of the ground later revealed no sign of a body.

This calamity has caused much distress in the kingdom. His majesty King Mascuidius has decreed seven days of mourning for the brave warrior who is now presumed lost to us. Oh, darkest of days!"

Postscript to Chapter 3: It is now early autumn on the 472nd year since the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ.

"Word has reached his majesty King Mascuidius that the noble Decurio Geraint lives! Praise be to God!

Dispatches from the Tribune Andrucius at the border tower indicate that a few short weeks after the skirmish, the Saex Lord did appear from the trees at daybreak. He sought parley with the Tribune and did negotiate with him the release of the Decurio Geraint who had been taken captive in the woodland after the flight of his warriors during the skirmish. The Saex Lord did request gold for the return of the noble decurio, whom the Lord Andrucius noted had been surprisingly well treated during his time in captivity.

The Lord Andrucius did also note that the Saex Lord seemed somewhat more than an uncouth barbarian during the negotiations. His champion did speak Latin with less trace of an accent than one would expect and it has been noted that, in translating the words of his Lord, he did assure Lord Andrucius of the courage of the noble decurio both during the latter stages of the skirmish and during the period of his captivity. Naturally, this has been dismissed as flights of fancy by our noble king, who remains fully convinced that the enemy are nought but uncouth barbarian scum.

Nonetheless, the Tribune seems to have gained a new-found measure of respect for the enemy Lord, a view echoed by the decurio Geraint. The decurio has some knowledge of the Saex tongue and has informed his Lord that the Saex need gold to pay taxes unto the Warlord Wulfhere, in whose lands they now reside. This information has caused the Tribune some concern, for in doth indicate to him that these Saex are mayhap intent on more than mere plunder and occasional blood-sport. No, the Tribune fears that they may be intent on conquest and that their frequent raids are but a precursor to a concerted attempt to take our kingdom from us. In this, I fear, he may be right. However, we take heart from this: The decurio Geraint doth inform us that the Saex were sore hurt by the fight at the tower. For this reason, we must assume that we have been fortunate. For while we rebuild our own strength after the fight, we have suffered but one farm burned by the heathen and that in the last two days.

Soon, the season will turn. Already, the hours of darkness lengthen and the chill of the winter doth threaten our land. This year's campaigning season is therefore over. We expect no further trouble from the Saex until next spring. By then we will have rebuilt our forces and will be ready once again to face them."

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Pics from last night...The Defence of the Chapel of St Cadwyr

As is now customary, here is the second of the batreps from last night, this one with piccies!!

I was really glad we rolled for the 'raid the church' scenario, as it allowed me to use my recently purchased PMC games Dark Age church (now with 'lift-off-able' roof!!)

Here is the table at the start of the game after an uneventful set of terrain rolls... peaceful... Monks blissfully undertaking morning prayers, tending the animals, totally unaware of the mayhem about to unfold...

Here are a few pics during turn one. The Saxons only got one turn of movement before I arrived. However, only 2 groups could actually be brought on as the British vanguard... Luckily, most of the Saxon movement was slow in the first turn, giving me some time to organise a hasty defence!

This time I tried a different tactic: 3 formations.... The first had the commanipulares and a group of milites; the second, a group each of milites and levy and the last (under his noble tinyness, Maximus Minimus - cue fanfare!) of two groups of levy. This latter group woul;d take the long way round to the chapel while my main force fought off the key Saxon threat in the centre. I knew Mike had sent 'Leofric the somewhat inebriated' to sneak along the neutral long table edge nearest the chapel intent on some serious plundering, but I also knew that the mass of Gedriht in the centre couldn't be ignored (or left to anyone other than the best of my troops, so that was why my main force fought in the centre leaving the 'crap' to try to head off the looters...

Here's my advancing warband at the close of turn 2...Maximus Minmus front & centre for your viewing pleasure!

My strategy was to attack the Saxon centre early, as I was fairly confident that Mike didn't have too much of a card hand. I was holding 'aggressive charge' so knew I could at least apply that in an early assault on the Saxon lines. Here I am shaping up for the attack...

...while Maximus Minmus keeps sneaking round the back.

My strategyu in the centre was working well. Mike seemed unsettled by my aggressive tactics, evading my charge in the first instance, although ending up being caught by the 'Aggressive Charge' card next turn. He was clearly worried at having only 2 groups of Hearthuard facing 4 of my groups, as the milites and levy under Geraint ap Urien was by now in position to join the attack, so I understand his concern. Alos, when my attacks went in, the initial 'Aggressive Charge' didn't do me many favours. However, in subsequent turns, I was aided by some of the most atrocious dice rolling I have ever seen on Mike's part. It pretty much could have lost him the game there and then, as groups suffered excess shock and then misplaced amphorae all over the place, plunging his force morale dangerously low.

Where HAVE all the Saxons gone???

at this point, however, it finally came together for Mike! He FINALLY rolled the second '6' he needed to successfuly loot the chapel, just as Maximus Minimus formed a rather flimsy shieldwall on the neutral table edge (it was as far as he could get, bless 'im!) Typically, mike had by now amassed a killer carpe Diem hand and the Saxon charge totally obliterated the Britons in two round of combat, with poor old Maximus receiving a wound!! At this point, with his characters running to escape the battle (they had escaped from their routing units) and with my best units largely intact, Mike opted to exit the table with the loot via the neutral edge and risk the  extra casualties...

Below, Leofric 'the permanently bladdered' with his looted barrel of communion wine, shortky before exiting for home!

I was glad Mike won the game, as I made a couple of errors early on with movement in shieldwall and with forgetting to reduce combat dice due to shock on one occasion. This may have made little difference due to Mike's abysmal dice rolling, but nonetheless, I felt bad about it and was happy to lose by 1 point, suffering moderate casualties (that final Saxon charge tipped it over from 'light casualties'). However, Mike had suffered 'heavy casualties', so at least next time he comes for us, we'll be ready!!

Overall, a few errors aside, we played with much less reference to the rules, despite it being at least 3 weeks since the last game. We still got a bit confused over multiple group combat, but are happy that we resolved the queries sensibly. Both of us agreed that we'd been waiting for this game for days and have agreed to reconvene in 2 weeks for the next game. It really is seriously addictive and we are loving every minute of it - I'm sure that come across from our batreps!!

Look out for more in a couple of weeks...