Monday, 16 October 2017

Duchy of Cheddar 2, vile skeletal hordes 0

Way back in 2011-2012 I put together a force of late 17th century ratmen - the army of the Grand Duchy of Cheddar. They won me a couple of prizes in the Pendraken painting competition, and I led them to one glorious game of Hordes of the Things. Then I moved country, and found a deficit in 15mm HotT players. Unable to part with the wee furry beggars, they have lived in their box ever since. That is, until this weekend, when they returned to service in my first ever game of Kings of War.

It seems that while I have been distracted with my 6mm Minoans, some of the lads have been exploring 10mm fantasy ranges and experimenting with Kings of War. I happily took the opportunity to be shown the ropes, and the chance to get my ratties back on the table. Turns out I already have around 1600 points worth of forces (we used the Dwarf list). My foes, once more, turned out to be skeletons. Fousands of 'em.

I was more concerned with learning the rules and readjusting, so I didn't keep a very good account of the battle itself unfortunately.

 My rat dragoons savage some skeletal cavalry.

A skeletal horde charges Roquefort's Guard regiment. In the background, the Ducal Dirigible floats along. We stated it up as a flying magic user.
The steamtank/behemoth takes on some more skellie horsemen .

My fairly conservative tactics involved holding the line and shooting. The undead tactics involved a steady is macabre advance, with a few units surging forward thanks to necromantic magic.

Although I was taking a few hits, my stand and shoot approach was taking its toll on the skellies.

At the end of turn seven we agreed that the day had gone the way of the rats. Cheddar had lost three troops of shot and a gun battery, while the undead had lost a bone giant, a horde and two regiments of skeletons, two troops of horse, one troop of archers and a catapult.

My overall thoughts? 

Pros: KoW gives a pretty decent game, it is certainly fast, easy enough to pick up after a couple of turns, and allowed me to put a favourite and underutilised army on the table.

Cons: None really. After only one game I can't really say that many things stood out as 'wrong' with the rules as such. However, KoW is so very different to the large battle games I normally enjoy so much and it is those differences that I really noticed. There is no command and control friction and it seems to use an unnecessarily vast number of dice. I used to think Hail Caesar was guilty of this, but KoW is in a whole different league. In one particularly savage charge (my wolf riders against the undead artillery piece) I was required to roll 76 attack dice. Suffice to say I didn't, and we just removed the catapult.

Would I play again? I have already statted up my army properly (using the Kingdom of Men list) and am preparing to put in a small Pendraken order to flesh out my Cheddar forces, so I suppose I will. 😎

We finished the evening with a wee game of Cousins' War, from Surprised Stare Games. Great little game in which the unfortunate Lancastrians came out ahead at the end of turn five.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

6mm Mycenaean cavalry? Sure, why not...

Late Helladic horsemen, from Kelder (2012) fig.4
The Mycenaean army list (no.30) in L'Art de la Guerre allows for a single unit of mediocre cavalry. I've always felt a bit iffy about the use of cavalry in Bronze Age in general, and among the Aegean states in particular, but then I thought, "What the hell, they are permitted, they are mediocre (so hardly a game breaker), so why not?" ... and of course, there is also THIS from Kelder.

So for my 6mm Minoan army, where to start? I thought that Rapier Miniature's new Assyrian cavalry (above) may well fit the bill, so I ordered a pack along with my small Sea Peoples/Myrmidon order. Unfortunately, the Assyrian cavalry have bows and quivers on their backs, so I abandoned the idea.

Late Minoan horseman, from Kelder (2012) fig.8
For a few days anyway. Then I got to tinkering. If I could cover up the bow and quiver, the Assyrians still might work. I played around with a few different ideas until I decided that I could carve away most of the bow etc and cover the mangled remains with a small shield. There is some evidence to suggest that the unusual Mycenaean cavalry may have carried shields, so that seemed to work for me.

So what I've ended up with, are these wee chaps. I appropriated the shields from some unused Sea Peoples javelineers, and to make the unit fit in better with the Myrmidon command, also did a few head swaps to have a few figures in the unit wearing the Sea Peoples headdress.

Of course it also leaves me with these poor headless, armless corpses... never mind.

And here is the result, the most mediocre Myrmidons ever to grace a table top. I'm pretty please with the way they turned out, but - given my penchant for excellent cavalry - I'm not sure that these particular lads will impress on the table top.

In related news, I had a parcel waiting waiting for me when I got home. I guess it's time to start the heavy lifting and paint one or two Minoan spearmen.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Ludi Hetairoi - The games have begun

The first three gladiatorial bouts have been played by Edu and co. over at Hetairoi Wargames. For those that missed it, the rules were posted HERE. In the first bout, Hilarinus took on a bear. The blow by blow account using Blood, Sweat and Cheers can be read HERE.

The second bout used Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten to simulate Mamertinus' brave struggle with two tigers. The full account can be read HERE.

The third bout returned to Blood, Sweat and Cheers (with a minor tweak to allow ponies) to play out the clash between Maternus and Habilis. You can find the full report for that game HERE.

Stay tuned to the Hetairoi Wargame blog, as there are plenty more bouts to come!

Monday, 9 October 2017

ADG 6mm Cycladic Islanders/Myrmidons

Here is the first fifth of my L'Art de la Guerre 6mm Minoan army. This is a small command of allied Myrmidons (I am conceptualising them as Cycladic Islanders) to support my main battle line of heavy spearmen, archers and chariots. All figures are from Rapier Miniatures.

My Islander commander (embedded in an elite unit of light chariots) is based on the chariots from the  Rapier Trojan range, with a Seleukid scythed chariot driver as the general, and a Sea Peoples wagon driver as the warrior in the second chariot.

The elite medium swordsmen are all from the Rapier Sea Peoples range, a mix of swordsmen and javelineers. 

The skirmishing archers are a mix of Sea Peoples archers from the ox wagons, with helmeted archers from the Rapier Trojan range.

This man ran a whole fleet of canoes. What he did next will shock you!

Mark in Pattaya has sent through another Galleys & Galleons report. This time, he did something I've never seen it done before - a fleet composed entirely of canoes. See how they got on below!


It's been a long time since my last Galleys & Galleons game, so when an unexpected free evening came up recently I hauled out the ships and terrain. No time to plot anything fancy, so the anticipated return to action of Don Marco da Pattaya has been deferred. Instead a simple encounter battle between two squadrons will have to do!

The two sides are:

The Black Islands Pirates (196 points)
Scourge of the Sondonesian Islands these fearsome raiders, in their vast fleets of small craft, terrorise shipping and raid coastal settlements from Aceh to Bougainville!
7 x Native Canoes (each 28 points)
Q2 C2; boats; intimidating 

The Knights of St Michael of Singapore (210 points)
Scourge of the Sondonesian Islands these fearsome raiders, in their swift galleys, terrorise shipping and raid coastal settlements from The Andamans to Borneo!
1 x Galeass (66 points)
Q4 C5; chaser guns; drilled soldiers; high castles; master gunner; square rigged; sweeps; veteran NCOs
3 x Galleys (each 48 points)
Q3 C3; drilled soldiers; galley; swashbucklers; yare 

The Pirates were defenders and set a tabletop with two large Islands (and three sandbanks that were never in play) and a wind direction dead foul for the Knights. The wind only really affects the galeass, and it can use its sweeps to get along when the wind is unfavourable. All the other vessels on both sides are muscle powered and ignore the wind. So for the whole game I didn't bother checking for changes in wind direction and let it blow steadily down the table (ENE for the log books).

The first photo below shows the two squadrons approaching. Cecil the sea-serpent watches and waits ... will it be dinner time soon?

The Knights' plan is to use gunnery to cause as much damage to the war canoes as possible before ramming, and to prevent the pirates from attacking from a flank. The Pirates' plan is to gang up on individual galleys to overwhelm them, while avoiding the broadside firepower of the galeass.

Neither side was up for going around the Black Islands to outflank the enemy, probably because the canoes and the galeass were limited to a maximum of 2 x short moves per turn. The galleys, which could potentially move 2 x medium per turn, preferred to keep traditional line abreast formation.

The photo above shows the canoes rushing the S end of the Knights line (R of shot). The two foremost canoes (Te Arawa & Aoraki) have tried small-arms fire as they close with the galley  (Stella Artois) but to no effect. Now it's the Knights' turn.

The Pirates attacked with great elan, and soon the battle was in full swing. The initial attack was unlucky not to cause any damage to the galleys from boarding, and the Knights seemed to gain the upper hand. 

This photo shows the situation as the Pirate attack seems to falter. The yellow markers indicate damage (from gunfire or boarding actions) and the blue markers indicate vessels have grappled. One canoe has been severely damaged by broadside fire from the galeass (San Miguel). Cecil waits and watches.

The Pirates fight on grimly and begin to inflict casualties on the Knights. The next photo shows how it's turning into a battle of attrition. I also wanted to show off one of my "vessel sunk" markers, where the San Miguel has sunk the canoe Ruapehu. Cecil comes to inspect the buffet.

And two or three moves later it has come to this ... Vessels sunk (1 canoe), and captured and moved out of the way (1 canoe, 1 galley), have been removed from the table, but the green "captured" markers show how the galley Cervesa, unmoved by the capture of the Stella Artois, has fought on magnificently. It's now badly damaged and new attackers are coming in on the flank.

And here's the final position. The Cervesa was captured but not before taking out one more attacker. But the jig is up for the Pirates as the third galley (Corona) and the San Miguel come to the rescue. At this point the Pirates have only one Canoe left and the Knights have a galley and a galeass. 

The Knights have sunk one canoe and captured five. The Pirates haven't sunk any opponents but have captured two galleys (at least one of which looks set to be recaptured). 

I'm calling it a bloody but clear-cut victory for the Knights!

Cheers from Pattaya!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A bloody morning's hunting

This week I managed a sneaky day-time game of Palaeo Diet with Jim. He had backed the last Ganesha Advanced Song of Blades... kickstarter and rolled out the Ganesha game mat that was one of the KS add-ons. I hadn't seen one in the flesh before and was very impressed.

We started with beasts of each category spread out on the table: three mammoths, four goats, two boar and a bear. Jim was the tribal elder and took an ambitious four hunters - Ogg the Stalker (spear), Ferg (fire), Frygga (spear) and Tark (bow). I ran a more manageable three hunters, Rarr the Thinker (club), Bow (bow and Idd the hound), and Urgg (spear).

In the opening turns, Jim's hunters were far more adventurous and got straight into spear throwing and arrow pelting. The leading goat was hit with an arrow and, looking up to see a snarling Frygga, took the unlikely option of charging her!

Even more unlikely, she failed to get out of the way and took a headbutt in the butt. Well, the front really, but I just wanted to write butt again. One of those days. Butt.

Frygga took down the goat with her next spear. Unfortunately, all that spilt blood drew the boars out of their swamp. One of the boars was wounded (again by Tark the bowman I think), but reacted by charging into Frygga and finishing her off.

Meanwhile, Ogg had been taunting mammoths. He wounded one, but promptly ran away from its angry trumpeting. My hunters had been finding it difficult to activate, and Idd the hound was off doing its own thing, chasing goats and being a general nuisance.

Some almost-equally-poor activation rolls on Jim's side of the valley prompted the bear to come ambling out of the woods for a nosy. Fergg lay down a ground fire in front of the bear and then took to his heals, hoping to get around between the mammoths and the table edge (that they kept moving towards).

Urgg and Rarr had finally made there way towards the action by this stage. While Urgg tried to take down the wounded boar, Rarr tried to sneak up on a cranky mammoth. The mammoths heard him coming and he was unable to avoid a wounding blow from a tusk.

As Rarr ran off, Urgg took down the wounded boar, while Tark and Ogg together killed the second boar. The ground fire started spreading towards the bear which ran off the table. By now we had killed six bulk worth of beasts (one goat and the two boars), which was enough for our six remaining hunters to call it a conditional win. On the flip side, we did manage to kill off our tribes last female, so... maybe not what you would call a strategic win in the grand scheme of things.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Irregular Wars Vijayanagara, Arabs, and Ottomans, Oh my!

News just in from the Indies - this splendid Irregular Wars battle report from the Voyages à travers le temps blog. In this entry, Stéphane shows us his Hindu Vijayanagara forces, battling it up with Lee's Hollanders. Come and check out the full report (and practice your French) HERE.

Earlier, Lee's Arabs took on Peter's Ottomans as shown on the It Figures blog. Check out that full report (and practice your French - or cheat with Google translator) HERE.

Friday, 29 September 2017

ADG - Setting up the Minoan camp.

Having previously posted work-in-progress shots of my Minoan camp for L'Art de la Guerre (part 1 and part 2), I can now show off the final stages and the completion of this mini-project. I really should get on the purchasing and painting some of the army to go with it...

When the 60x40mm bases arrived, the painted and unpainted elements were placed out and shuffled around a bit until they looked 'right'. You can see the pencil line of the water edge along the back. I wanted to have a truncated beach on the base, but didn't want water along the entire edge because we rarely have water features on out tables. The overall camp will have an 80x60mm footprint.

The water edge was scraped away with a hobbie knife and a beach area of sand was applied along the back edge of the camp. All unpainted elements were blued down. 
The previously painted elements were removed, the remainder was then undercoated, base painted and the 3D elements (sacks of stuff, figures etc) were painted and given a brown wash. The beach was painted and a clever system of fading blue water into yellow sand was developed. I won't go into it in any detail, because it didn't really work. You can see in this shot that the first layer of PVA glue was added and allowed to dry at this stage to start building up the water. The pre-painted elements were now glued back onto the base.

My regular basing sand was then added to the rest of the base and some haphazard highlighting done. The only thing left to do at that stage was adding flock. Te final results can be seen below.