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Thursday 20 September 2012

The Decurio Maximus Minimus

Having introduced him over the course of the past few Dux Brit-related posts, I felt it was high time I actually told you a bit more about the diminutive British hero, Decurio Maximus Minimus!!

Maximus Minimus came into being when Rich Clarke from Too Fat Lardies came to P'boro' to run us through the mechanics of a game.

Basically, I had forgotten to bring the paperwork for the characters we rolled for in our first Dux game, so Rich simply suggested we roll some more. Now, I remembered the names of my Warlord, my Champion and one of my heroes, but when it came to naming noble number 2, could I think of what I had originally called him??? No I bloody couldn' mind went blanker than the traditional old Blankety-Blank Chequebook (for the UK viewers of a 'certain age' amongst you!) so I simply blurted out 'Maximus' and, promptly rolled 'snake-eyes' for physical attributes, thereby rendering him 'miniscule!!!' Cue uproarious laughter and Rich's suggestion that he should henceforth be named 'Maximus Minimus'!! Naturally, the title stuck!!

The trouble was, that now EVERYBODY wanted me to paint a specific figure for him, as all my heroes are prety stonkingly large chaps (most of 'em are Gripping Beast models). So the search was on!! Several kind folk suggested ideas, most of which were simply poor quality models that I didn't fancy painting...I even initially considered 20mm until I saw the state of all the Late Roman 20mm models out there...YUCK!!!!

It was then that I had me a brainwave!! I knew that, somewhere among  my several boxes of bare metal lurked the original Foundry 'Arthur' figure - a marvellous sculpt (I assume by one of the Perry twins) but one which is very significantly smaller than most models in all other Arthurian ranges (in common with all Foundry's Arthurian/Late Roman sculpts). So, I did some digging and, lo and behold, there he was!!!

A swift bit of 'scalpel-work' removed the horsehair plume that made him look far too tall and I simply stuck him flat onto a 40mm round base (all my other characters have these bases built up to make them look even more heroic) and I had my Maximus Minimus!!!!

Here is his story, from the pen of the scribe 'Publicus Librarius', our chronicler of the Annals of Linnius:

"Maximus Minumus is the 25 year-old younger son of a noble Roman family. He is of miniscule build and is renowned for being thrifty. He is named as a 'Son of a Honestiore' , so cames from a middle-class Roman family of some wealth and power. There are those in the kingdom of Linnius who whisper that it is his father's power and wealth that has gained him his commission in the army of the Tribune Andrucius. Consequently, the Decurio is determined to prove that he is a true soldier and is well-equipped to, some day, lead the forces of Linnius in battle. This is proving somewhat difficult, as he has lately been tasked with keeping command of the kingdom's levy - hardly a position from which much glory is likely to emerge! But Maximus is yet young and the day may well come when he steps up and performs feats of great valour for the kingdom!"

Here he is in all his glory, with some shots of him next to his commandewr-in-chief, the Tribune Andrucius, to give you an idea of the size difference!

Monday 17 September 2012

Last Weeks Dux Brit Game...Pics etc

Thought I'd post a few pics from last week and the first campaign game with the fabulous and most mighty Dux Britanniarum. (Especially seeing as Mike has posted the 'Saxon View' on his own blog here...)

It was an interesting encounter, as we rolled a decently light table of scenery, then filled the b*gger up with a bloomin' farm cos we rolled the 'raid the farm' scenario!! Actually, we only filled up the bit near where my blokes came on...great!!

Anyway, as ever, 'twas a great game. We were ably supported by fellow club member Andy (who has been bitten by the Dux B bug and is painting Saxons as we speak) and Dewi, whose Welsh ancestry means that anything involving attempting to tw*t Saxons has got to be worth being involved in...he's painting British as we speak!! So, Andy was in charge of cards and Dewi observed and moved a few of my chaps around while Mike and I got on with the game.

Mike had 3 whole turns of move before I even appeared, so actually reached the farm!! Luckily I rolled high for the number of units arriving (all bar the archers) but rolled a totally shite entry point, as a large wood was totally in my way. In typical fashion, I then made a c*ck up of deployment (only realising it in hindsight) and also forgot that the wood was not that much of a barrier unless I was in shieldwall, so avoided it, thereby fragmenting my line where I needed to maximise its strength. We also made a slight error with the Saxons coming over fences, not that it mattered in the end, but I have now duly noted it for future games.

What it boiled down to was simple: Mike got men into the farm buildings, but couldn't roll a six to loot them. Ever!!
While this was going on, I made the error of getting a unit of milites caught out - it tw*tted a unit of Saxon warriors, but was quite badly shocked and, when caught by a second unit, withdrew due to a lost amphora. Mistake 1...should have supported it with a unit of levy... Now I was down to only 4 on the force morale table...

Also, Mike's 2 Gedriht units advanced on my Commanipulares and Milites who were forming a shieldwall. By clever use of Goad cards, Mike prevented my elites from fighting and destroyed the milites. Dastardly and clever at the same time...hmm...most 'un-Saxon'...

However, in so doing, he got his elites separated. By this time, I had amassed a kick-ass card hand and whupped ass on the first unit, which lost its amphora and fled...

...leaving me to take on the second (noble-less) unit and deliver it the pasting it deserved, (helped, if memory serves, by a 'Step Forth' card...HA!! My turn to be dastardly...BWAAAHAAAHA!!!) reducing Mike to low morale as well.

At this point, with 2 units of Gedriht running, with one warrior unit down to 2 men and totally unable to loot anything, Mike withdrew and I let him go, as my elites were down to 4 men (although mercifully free from shock) and the levy under his Noble Tinyness, Maximus Minimus, miles away from doing anything useful!!

Overall, the game played much faster as we knew most of the key rules much better this time and we didn't make too many errors. We certainly both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the closeness of the British victory was a testament to how it might so easily have gone the other way...

Thanks to Mike, for, as is customary, giving me a very close-run and great fun game, to Andy for dealing cards and Dewi for insulting the Saxons fairly remorselessly all evening!!!

It'll be a couple of weeks before we reconvene, but rest assured that more Lardy Dux Brit goodness will be on its way soon!

Monday 10 September 2012

The Annals of Linnius: Chapter 1: The Defence of Bleddig's Farm

"Early Spring in the 472nd year after the birth of our Blessed Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.

On this day, the forces of the Tribune Lord Andrucius did engage a band of heathen  Saex who did attempt to raid the farmestead of the freeman Bleddig, whose lands lie in the East of the province of Caer Lind Colun, but a short march from the sea.

The Tribune's forces came upon the enemy as they were entering the freeman's farm. 'Tis indeed fortunate that the goodly farmer had wind of their foul presence and enabled the escape of his entire family into surrounding woodland. According to both the Lord Andrucius and the Decurio Geraint, this was largely due to the stench of the heathens' unwashed bodies and also to the hideously loud and guttural noises made by one of the enemy lords which alerted the freeman and his entire family. Decurio Geraint, who has some limited knowledge of the Saex tongue, doth inform me that this was the Saex equivalent of 'song' performed by a brute who was in no small measure inebriated and that he would not furnish me with more detail of the lyric lest he offend my delicate sensbilities. Wisely, I did not pursue the matter...

The Tribune's report stated that the the forces of our kingdom fought bravely against the onslaught of the heathen, but that, due to the difficulty of terrain, the Saex had the edge throughout the early stages of the encounter. This was also apparently enhanced by the brutes' habit of stepping forth with loud, foul and dastardly taunting of the Lord Andrucius' bodyguard. Apparently, the British tongue was not spoken well by the heathen, but by dint of hand gesture (and other bodily parts which I shall not mention) the gist of the insults were only too clear, leaving the goaded hearthguard unable to support their warrior bretheren in combat for some goodly part of the fight.

Thus, things did seem bleak until the Lord Andrucius, finally clearing his mind of the heathens' curses, and with his valiant hearthguard howling in battle rage beside him, launched a series of devastating assaults on the Saex Lord's own hearthguard units, putting both to ignominious flight at only trifling loss to his own elite guard. This turned the tables on the foe, who were celebrating the rout of the milites in the Tribune's force with further raucous 'song' and insults. Both the Decurio Geraint and the Lord's Champion Bedwyr are to be mentioned in dispatches to his majesty King Mascuidius for valiantly fighting against the odds for much of the conflict, the Decurio gaining a small and insignifcant wound in the process as his milites withdrew from the field.

Maximus Minimus shall not be mentioned as his entire role in the fight was to march the levy inconsequentially around the field, apparently searching for the enemy. Still, we must not judge the young man too harshly - at the very least, he did not get any of them killed!

Thus the conflict ended, as the Saex found nothing of any value in any part of Bleddig's farm and withdrew from the fight before more of their men were sent to cross the bridge of swords to the halls of their heathen dead. The Tribune Lord Andrucius was content to let them go, with the clear, well-formed and vigorously shouted taunts of our brave soldiers ringing in their ears!

A victory! Praise be to our Lord and Blessed Saviour!!

The Tribune informs me that our losses will be made good in but one cycle of the moon and that it will be yet another again before the Saex will have the strength to come at us once more. Yet we must remain vigilant, for come again they surely must! Their Lord will now know the name of our Tribune who has vanquished him and will be calling for revenge. The Saex will return. That we know for certain. What their next move will be, only their heathen gods will know.

This is a true and accurate account of the action at Bleddig's Farm, written by mine own hand.

Publicus Librarius - Scribe to his most royal majesty King Mascuidius of Linnius"

Friday 7 September 2012

Dux Bellorum bases have arrived!

You have to hand it to Martin and Diane at Warbases...they don't hang about and they do GREAT stuff!! I emailed them last weekend about doing me some sabot bases to use my Arthurians with Dan Mersey's 'Dux Bellorum' rules and, within a few hours, I had a quote. Mere days later, I have my bases! Excellent service and quality product once again!! Please use them for your basing requirements and do feel free to tell them I sent you!! :-)

Anyway, I now have enough bases to do either a Romano-British or a Welsh army...all the more reason to get that Welsh noble cavalry finished!!.

I designed the bases myself and sent Martin a drawing for each type of base I required. These are attached below. If any of you want them to order yourselves some, please email me and I'll zip the files to you (Microsoft Publisher or PDF).
Each base is 120mm x 80mm and, when we game, we are going to equate one vase-width (the standard rules measurement distance) as 4", so if something has a move of 2 base widths in the rules, we'll simply multiply 4" by 2... This means we can use decent numbers of models in our armies (I can't stand those DBwotsit armies with about 10 figurse in the entire force!) and play on a standard club 6x4 foot table. Thanks to Steve Jones, whose idea we are shamelesly stealing!!!

This weekend, it's all about sticking on the sand and static grass ready for a game in a couple of weeks. Watch this space for a battle report and pics!!

Of course, the fact that the skirmisher and cavalry bases have four models each is also very handy for Dux Britanniarum too, as those are the unit sizes for cavalry and skirmishers...handy that!!!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Dux Britanniarum -The Annals of Linnius: Prologue

"These words are a true and lasting record of the events from this day forward in the kingdom of Linnius.  I, Publicus Librarius, chief scribe and loyal servant of Mascuidius, Overlord of Linnius, take it upon myself to record the events of this time, for I fear that we may be setting out on a long and painful journey into the darkness, like so many of our fellow Britons since the legions of Rome departed many years ago. These words must serve as a light in times of future darkness, so that men may know that we fought to preserve what is ours and that this land comes at a price to those who would take it from us.

It is now early spring in the 472nd year after the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the world that we know and have known for many generations is changed. In recent weeks, portents of doom have struck our small kingdom. Farms lying nearest to the coast of the Saxon Sea have been burned, the families cruelly slaughtered, cattle and other goods stolen. Dark-sailed ships have been seen prowling the coasts in greater numbers than ever before. Sea-born trade from the kingdoms of Aegidius and Syagrius in Gaul, from the lands of the Bretons and from the kingdoms of the Visigoths and Franks has slowed and all communication from the officials of what remains of the Empire of the West has ceased.

From this, we must deduce that the dreaded heathen Saex have, at last, come to our lands, seeking to steal them from us, to enslave our people and to extinguish the light of civilization from our world. From whence they come, we know not. Some say these are raiders from the Anglian lands to the North, where the land of Deira is held by the Angles and that they come via the great Northern river called the Humber. Others say that the raiders come from across the Saxon Sea where warlords compete for land, power and glory and see in us the chance for that glory...

Whichever is the true fact is not important. The fact remains that the Saex are come to our world and that we must prepare for a long, hard fight.

Our forces are prepared. The Tribune, Lord Andrucius prepares the army and  has sent out the call for the local militia to take up arms and prepare to defend their homes. Whoever they are, these Saex need to know that the kingdom of Linnius will not descend into the darkness without a fight..."

Tuesday 4 September 2012

BIG Games - Newbury and Catraeth (Y Gododdin)

In the past two weeks I have been fortunate enough to take part in two BIG games! The first was an all-dayer at the club, led by Carl Fisher and involving Mike Whitaker and Gary (chaps from the ECW campaign running at the club, of which more on Mike's blog). This game used Gary's models (give or take a unit...the man has too many models!) and the Pike & Shotte rules and was a re-fight of first Newbury. Now, I know less than b*gger all about ECW, but nonetheless am really enjoying the campaign and had a real blast at the all day game, managing to help secure a Parliamentarian victory by resolutely advancing across all the fields that actually exist outside Newbury, effectively pinning the Royalist right while my boss (Gary - Earl of Essex) trashed the much better and more numerous Royalsit cavalry and basically did all the hard work!!!  He was assisted by the fact that Mike did a bit of superb role-playing as Pwince Wupert, launching an impetuous cavalry charge that, had it worked, would have meant curtains for Parliament. However, it didn't and it was the Royalist cavalry commands breaking that secured the victory.
Parliament deployment below - my foot commands who were tasked with securing the bridge by advancing across the fields and hedgerows of middle England...oh joy!!
 Below, Royalist right flank opposing me...
 Royalist cavalry below...
 Parliament cavalry...outclassed and outnumbered...but still kicked ass!!!
 My advance...steady as we go lads...trudge, trudge...
 The ECW equivalent of trench warfare. I was coming out on top in this firefight, but only was soon after this point that the Earl of Essex got himself captured (doh!) while his right flank rendered the Royalist position untenable as vast hordes of Parliament troops were about to outflank their line on the right....VICTORY!!

So, that was fun!!!

Now to last Sunday where I joined Sir James of Morris and several chums (Age of Arfur's Steve Jones, Tom and Scrivs, plus Andy McT and Matt) to re-run the mahoosive 'Hail Caesar' refight of the Battle of Catraeth as immortalised in the Dark Age British poem 'Y Gododdin'. This is the one that will appear in Wargames Illustrated's 300th issue in October (we saw the article proof on NEED to buy the mag for this alone (and the other articles will be just as good, trust me!)

Anyway, Sunday saw us take the game to 'The Other Partizan' at Newark. We were slap bang in the middle of the hall next to Simon 'Bigredbat' and Phil Hendry's superb Ad Castores Roman civil war game (@Phil and Simon: sorry I didn't get to chat more than 2 mins to either of you...the game took all of my attention apart from enough time to much a jacket potato and buy a few bits and bobs...)

I took my usual place on the British left and was joined by James and Steve as fellow Britons. Basically, our scenario was as follows (hopefully this enlarges enough to read!):

As heroic and glorious death was the order of the day, we attempted to do just that, only to be thwarted by failed command rolls and stupendous Saxon saving throws. I came last (b*gger all glory!) with the day being well and truly won by Tom whose Saxons kicked our butts quite royally!! Nonetheless, this was one of the best games I have ever been involved in. With over 1000 beautifully painted models on the table, it was quite a spectatcle and the interest we provoked in the punters was, understandably, high!! To all who came over, I hope that you found us all appropriately friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

A few pics below (I gave up after lunch as fatigue set in...just buy the mag in October as WI's Dan F takes MUCH better pics than me anyway!!)

Full deployment below...

 My models. Note the three new banner bearers. The chap with the yellow banner will be standard bearer in the full unit of Gododdin Teulu I am painting for WAB/Saga/Dux Brit/Dux Bellorum and which are on my painting table as we speak.
 View of the Saxon lines from behind my position below...

Below: the attack goes in...just before it all went dreadfully 'Pete Tong'... Steve Jones looking unconcerned (his Companion cavalry were our best unit, mauling the Saxon left and actually cutting a path of escape, but valiantly returning to die with their comrades...)

I hope you enjoyed these tales of BIG gaming. I heartliy recommend the Hail Caesar and Pike & Shotte rules to all of you. Gather some mates and put on a BIG game of your won't regret it! :-)

Next up, the Dux Britanniarum campaign for Linnius begins!!!