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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!!!!