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Tuesday 30 July 2013

Arthurian Banner Bearer

As promised a week or so ago, here are a few pics of the Musketeer Arthurian banner bearer I have painted for internet pal Tony. This is Vortigern's banner bearer model painted to join Tony's Saxon forces. The banner motif is a classic Arthurian boar design, taken from Pictish monuments (and also the Saxon symbol in Dux Britanniarum.)

Like all Musketeer models, he was a joy to paint. I have a whole bunch of these of my own to do at some point... Whether I'll get around to them any time soon is unlikely, as I'm in a Fantasy painting frenzy at the moment. Still, they may well make a nice change from Elves...

Anyway, here's Tony's Saxon bannerman. Enjoy!

Monday 22 July 2013

Shock...Horror...New Painting!!!!

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" you are no doubt saying! "Has old Andy woken up his bloomin' paintbrush then"

Well, yes, I have!! After months of being unable to paint due to simply not having any desire whatsoever, I have finally managed to complete three miniatures!!! Sadly, I only have pics of two because the bloody camera ran out of juice! So you'll have to wait until tomorrow for pics of a Musketeer miniatures Arthurian standard bearer that I've been painting for interweb chum Tony for...oh, about 6 months now (sorry Tony...he'll be with you as soon as I've varnished him and got him down to Royal Mail...)

Anyway, the two I have pics of are two 80s Warhammer High Elves from the force I have been buying off EBAY and from various like-minded  souls for the past few months.

I do intend to play Warhammer 3rd Edition with them, but they'll also take the field for 'Ride to Ruin' as well, as they are such great models. They are actually in many ways more 'Tolkien' than any other Elves, being armoured in mail... I've always wanted some and now here they are.

The first two are the General and a Wardancer. I opted for not painting eyes, as my own are shot and can't do that level of detail any more. I also opted to do fairly 'modern' basing, rather than going all 'green base edges and flock' like some Oldhammer enthusiasts do. Each to their own, but I hate green base edges...mind you, a lot of folk hate my black ones, so not to worry!!

A unit of cavalry are sat on the table at the mo. They are all on the same armoured steed as the general and will look AWESOME!


Pics of the Saxon banner bearer to come as soon as the camera is recharged... Then it'll be that 'Ride To Ruin' AAR I keep promising you...

Friday 12 July 2013

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 10: The Raid on the Village of Slea-Ford

It is now late spring in the 475th year after the birth of our Lord and most Blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ. I, Publicus Librarius, scribe to his most majestic King Mascuidius, do record the events of these days that witness the coming of the dread Saex.

"It is now two full cycles of the moon since the Praefectus Andrucius foiled the Saex plot to kidnap the brave noble Maximus Minimus at the border watchtower and once again the enemy have raided our kingdom.

Since the sad loss of the fair city of Caer Lind Colun, the new capital hath been established at Caer Lerion. However, the province of Cavsennae doth bear the brunt of the Saex raids, so the Praefectus hath established a system of regular patrols to ensure that Cavsennae itself and the surrounding villages are protected.

On the day in question, the Praefectus did hear disturbing news that a large Saex force had crossed the borders. Spies did inform the Praefectus that it was approaching the village of Slea-Ford, a small place, but home to a pottery-maker whose goods are very much valued by his Majesty himself and many of the Royal Household and which fetch a goodly price in trade with other kingdoms both here and across the Saxon Sea. Thus the Praefectus knew that this village must be defended at all costs!

The Saex did enter from the North, their advance swift and surefooted through the woodland and marsh surrounding the village. The Saex lord did split his forces, keeping his hearthguard close in an attempt to draw our forces away from the village. However, the Praefectus did anticipate this and, keeping his hearthguard and some milites close, did advance to engage the Saex while the remaining milites and Pedyt under Geraint and Maximus did traverse the woodland and attempt to reach the village. However, they made poor speed and the Saex did enter the village and begin their foul pillaging. Fortunately, due to the excellence of the Praefectus' patrols and the rapidity of his arrival, the locals did receive plentiful warning and did escape into the hills, having done their best to hide anything worth stealing.

The initial combat did not bode well, as the Saex lord's hearthguard launched a tumultuous assault on our brave warriors, driving them back with volleys of sharp thrown spears. Nonetheless, undaunted, they returned to the fray, joined by Geraint with the remaining milites and the combined force did, after much brutal slaughter, finally rout the Saex hearthguard, much of which fled the field. The pitiful remnant did withdraw, harassed by our archers, until finally they were caught by the Praefectus hearthguard and annihilated in deadly slaughter, the Saex lord running like a cowardly dog for the shelter of the trees.

Meanwhile, Maximus Minimus, saviour of the army at Caer Lind Colun, did not do us proud this day. His pedyt, advancing in tight shieldwall found their half-hearted charge fall short, only to receive a deadly assault from the heathen that did send them howling back in disarray. The brave and diminutive noble did extricate himself from the wreck and did manage to locate the remnants of the milites who had been recovering their composure after the initial Saex assault. These he rallied ready to re-engage should the need arise.

At this point, the fight was in the balance. The Saex had looted half the village - victory was in sight for them. However, Praefectus Andrucius called upon his tiring heroes to one last heroic endeavour and, forming up, they crashed into the Saex who had so recently broken the levy. The fight was ferocious and brief. Gearint's milites, exhausted with the fight, did run from the combat, although the Saex opposing them did run also. This left the Praefectus and his remaining hearthguard facing one last group of Saex... Howling his battle cry, the Praefectus did lead the charge, ably supported by Geraint who had extricated himself from the wreck of his milites. The Saex line did crumble and the pitiful remnant fled the field, abandoning the loot! The village of Slea-ford was saved!!!

Praise be to God for such a victory! The Praefectus' forces did slay twice the number of men slain by the enemy. We may have lost the fair city, but this war is not yet over!"

Well, b*gger me, that was a cracker!!! Three solid hours of gaming, twice through the fate deck and goodness knows how many actual game turns.... Wow! The game was really in the balance til the very last combat. Both of us managed to gain enough decent carpe diem hands to add punch to the combats, especially Mike, to whom 'Strong Arm' cards are nagnetically drawn!!

Pivotal moments in the game as follows:

1. Mike's first charge on my elites/warriors combo: I was driven back and in a bit of trouble, although the elites were (miraculously) unscathed at this point;
2. Getting my other milites within 2" of the Saex when they came in again - this took me from being outnumbered to outnumbering with the dice thrown and made a huge difference, as the Saex elites were beaten off, one group losing their amphora and the warlord's group significantly weakened;
3. Me failing two charges by an inch! In one, the pedyt had to throw anything but a 1 to charge with a kick-ass carpe diem hand. Guess what I rolled!!! This was the point I thought I'd lost, as Mike did to the pedyt what I'd hoped they were gonna do to him!
4. Mike being a not very successful looter (again!)
5. Being able to catch the remaining Saex hearthguard who had been weakened by my archery and destroying them, thereby significantly reducing Saxon force morale
6. The British Lord's card coming up at the right time to get in the final charges and break the Saxon force.
7. Me rolling few kills on my troops through most of the fight, although I received LOADS of shock!

I also played my cards MUCH better this time, choosing my moments to play them and playing the right ones at the right time, which I have not always done in other games.

I have to say that three hours just flew by! The raid scenarios are really such great games. We have played this particular one at least three times now and each game has been completely different to the others.

In fact, while playing/tidying away, we were discussing why this campaign continues to inspire us after 10 games. Some of the thoughts we came up with were as follows - I can't remember them all:

1. The scenarios are bloody brilliantly designed - they make you want to come back again and again;
2. The game mechanics are really good. There is nothing we really don't like. The Fate cards are genius and add such great period flavour;
3. Mike makes sh*t-hot brilliant terrain that is a pleasure to fight over (new game boards new the PVA was still a bit soggy!)
4. The period-specific flavour we have put in with our 'in-role' batreps and the way the heroes really have developed characters all of their own;
5. We don't overdo it. A game once every 3-4 weeks, ish. That keeps us interested but doesn't overload us;
6. The blogging: we enjoy writing this stuff for you and taking the pretty pics!

Talking of which, the pics!! Enjoy...

The village of Slea-Ford, ripe for the pillaging (Quote Mike: Let's pillage da village..." ahem...)

Saex deployment and pre-game move (we remembered the watchtower rule this time!)

Andrucius leads his men into action...

Initial Briton moves. See Geraint's men b*ggering about in the woods...sigh...

End of turn 1...

End of turn 2. The Britons are beginning to get some kind of battle line going now...

View through the Gedriht...

After the first combat, the milites have taken a mauling but the Saex are not unscathed...

View from behind the Saex after that first fight...

"See there, men! Slea-Ford...we must save the village!"

After the pivotal combat where Geraint's milites joined in by being 2" from the Saex. This was a real early turning point for me and momentarily put Mike on the back foot - not that he was there for long...

Wide-angle view...

The Saex lord withdraws out of charge range (boo, hiss!)

It's now about to get interesting...

My archers about to get clobbered...

MAXIMIS ACTIVATES!!! YAY!!! Now, you get one D6 for levy in shieldwall...just roll anything...

...but a one...Oh sh*te, b*gger, feck and a*se!!!!

The milites similarly failed to contact the Saex 1 inch (sob!) Now it's me on the back foot! Mike is really back in this now...

Yes...this IS going as badly as it looks (bloody 'Strong Arm' card!)

Oh dear, large hole where pedyt used to be... Now, will I be able to catch those Saex elites? (Err, yes, actually, but the photo was abominably blurred...sorry!)

Where have all the pedyt gone???

"Brave men of Linnius, form up on me and CHAAAARGE!!!!!!"

DIE, Saex scum!!!  Saex amphora lost, force morale zero...victory to the Britons!!! By 3 points, as it turned out, as I had suffered moderate losses and Mike heavy losses...
Many thanks as always to Mike for being a fabulous opponent, against whom I never tire of gaming. Thanks also to Mike's lovely wife who put up with three hours of noisy wargaming in the rrom next while trying watch her favourite TV programmes...with nary a complaint!

Next up, that bat-rep of the Ride to Ruin game I played the other week.

Thursday 11 July 2013

EPIC game of Dux Britanniarum...


That's the only word I can possibly think of to describe last night's MEGA Dux Brit bash without using expletives! Words fail was that good!
Tune in tomorrow evening for a full write up with about 23 photos...3 hours of non-stop Dark-Age gaming mayhem will unfold before your very eyes as the outcome hangs on a knife edge, swinging this way and that!!!

Taster pic below...

Interested?? Good! Until tomorrow, good people... :-) 

PS Mike already has the Saxon viewpoint on his blog! So if you are the sort who likes to read the end of a book first (?) pop on over there for a look-see...

Sunday 7 July 2013

The Annals Of Linnius Chapter 9: The Second Fight At The Watchtower

It is late in the 474th year after the birth of our Lord and Blessed Saviour. I, Publicus Librarius, scribe to his Royal Majesty King Mascuidius of Linnius, do chronicle the days of the coming of the dread Saex.

“It is now some time since the days of woe when the fair city did fall. We have regrouped to the South and continue much as before, although many of our people still mourn the loss of the fair city of our Roman fathers. In truth, many of the people did stay behind and do now call the Saex leader ‘Lord’. This does not surprise the noble Praefectus, who fully understands the ways of the common folk. The Saex lord needs men to work the land and the common folk need land to work. They simply replace one lord with another. At least now their lands will not be raided by the Saex.

Unlike ours…

Once again, the Saex lord looks South. Now he claims the title of king for himself, he will need to maintain the prestige of a powerful warrior and will need to maintain a healthy purse – he has a kingdom (albeit a small one) to run and one cannot run a kingdom without gold.

The Praefectus has spies in the old province and reports did reach his ears that the Saex planned to capture a noble Briton for ransom. They tried this before with the noble Geraint and it seemed that they would try a similar tactic again, ambushing a patrol between the watchtowers on the border.

On this occasion, news reached us that the target of their raid would be a patrol of warriors led by the diminutive noble, Maximus Minimus. The young man had shown great courage in the fight for the city, holding the right flank for much of the battle. His reward has been greater responsibility and the right to command the Milites on appropriate occasions.

Thus, the Praefectus did deploy the Commanipulares and the Pedyt ready to march out to escort Maximus to safety. His intervention was timely, as, at the same moment, the Saex raiders’ vanguard did appear, launching a furious assault that drove the Pedyt under Geraint back in some confusion, despite an heroic stand. Maximus Minimus, seeing in the distance the assault on his brethren, marched his men with all speed towards the action. As his warriors passed by the woods to their left flank, they were ambushed by the main body of Saex warriors. Unable to form shieldwall, they fought valiantly, sacrificing their lives so that the brave young Maximus could escape.

At this point, with the Milites fleeing and with the Saex having suffered equally grevious loss, including the destruction of the Scots-Irish mercenary band who had plagued our forces in recent encounters, the Praefectus ordered a general withdrawal. The Saex pursuit was lacklustre.

With the remaining Milites finding their way back to the main body overnight, the Praefectus declared a victory. Although a somewhat small consolation, it has nonetheless raised the spirits of all in the kingdom and the perception of the populace that the Saex are invincible has now reduced.”

This was another great Dux Britanniarum game! I love raid scenarios!

In this one, we forgot (yet again!) that my watchtowers give me an extra turn before the Saex arrive. This may well have made a difference in this game, although in the event I can’t complain because the game was a very minor victory to me.

What this game demonstrated yet again was that the Fate cards are such a genius element of the game. By the time the Saex main body arrived, I had built a great Carpe Diem hand. I knew Mike had an equally good one, so the pivotal moment of the game rested on whether Maximus Minimus of the Saex hero activated first. Of course, The Saex card came up and the milites took a pasting. In the event, Mike had a ‘Step Forth’ card, so it was all irrelevant, but I didn’t know this and the tension it built up was brilliant!

This game also saw the arrival on-table of Mike’s new BIG (make that BIG hill) and the arrival of my new Champion to replace poor old Bedwyr who died when the city fell. The hill is really a sight to behold, as I hope the pics below demonstrate…
The main British force deploys on the BIG hill...

...while Maximus Minimus makes all speed to reach safety.

British advance..

Caught by Saxons with a nasty Carpe Diem hand...

...the Pedyt (levy) are pushed back up the hill, which actually was the best thing that could have happened. Had they been forced to fight again, it would have been a real disaster!

The Saxon main force arrives...lots and lots of 'em all heading for Maximus' patrol!

Maximus' men prepare to face the threat...

"Come on then...come and get us..." The Britons keep the Gedriht  from joining the main Saxon force, but, equally, are unable to lend Maximus any assistance themselves.

Who will activate first?

The Saxons, obviously!!!! Where have all the Britons gone?

Maximus is safe, so the Britons withdraw...

Leaving the Saxons feeling somewhat cheated of their prey and of a victory.

We reconvene for another raid tomorrow evening. I’ll try to post a report quicker than this time. There’s stuff going on which has reduced painting/blogging time to zero…hopefully that’ll begin to change over the next few weeks.

Next week, hopefully a Ride To Ruin playtest game and the next Dux Brit raid...