Friday 30 March 2012

Battle report - 27 Mar 2012

Another 'not at the club' battle - I acquired a couple of old club boards a while back, which do nicely fit in our dining room, so I had Andy Hawes round on Tuesday for another warm-up game for Sunday's Age of Arthur campaign day at Maelstrom.

The Gedriht take the tower.
We picked the watchtower scenario from the Age of Arthur book (Andy once again dodging a scenario with a single-combat challenge in it!). Again, it's one where reading the victory conditions is a smart move  - basically, whoever holds the tower wins. As my elite Gedriht are quicker on their feet than Andy's, it was always going to be about me holding the tower, and whether he could kick me out or lure me out.

Strange things you find guarding
ancient forts. Thanks, James!
I've tweaked the list slightly from last time, reducing the numbers of a couple of units, and adding a batch of javelin-armed skirmishers who definitely earned their keep. My son James was keen to watch the first few rounds, and lent an able hand rolling dice.

As befits a warband army, I advanced before the dice made me, sending the Gedriht to take the tower, a band of Duguth across one side of the hill and the rest up another.

My dice, and two units of my
infantry, deserting me.
My archers and javelin men (with aid from James' dice rolling) proceeded to keep Andy's units at bay in the centre and on the right, while the left flank saw my Geoguth and a second unit of Duguth engage in several rounds of manouvering with Andy's cavalry (mincing around as usual!) and two units of his infantry.... which all went swimmingly until I charged and my dice deserted me. However? Not that important, as that's not the victory condition....
It's an Age of Arthur battle. You can
tell because the crunch fight is, as
ever, between both leaders and their
units! You can also see what's left
of one of Andy's units of Pedites
after my javelin men were through
throwing pointy sticks at them.

With a turn to go, Andy decided the only way to get any chance of a win was to charge my Gedriht in the watchtower: so he did. We had two rounds of an indecisive battle, which again I could have rolled better dice for, and that was it - watchtower still contested, battle officially a "Bloody Stand-Off".

Again. a great deal of fun - Andy's an all-around nice guy, and was very entertaining in his (accurate) explanations of what was going on to James, Anne and our house guest Rika.

Roll on Sunday.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Battle Report - 29-Feb-2012 - The Battle Of Cuidad Rodrigo

The final group of reinforcements on both sides turn up.
Apologies that this is somewhat short - I'm currently down with a rotten cold, and eyeing the Saxon lead mountain and two approaching deadlines for it with trepidations.

Not at the club, for once - this was the first real battle in Gavin's Peninsular campaign, held in Matt's rather sumptuously appointed games room.

As Marechal Victor, I and half the French army were late (and completely lacking in cavalry, as I'd managed to lose them on the map!), so Rich got to run the opening few turns until my forces got there. He did rather get my best infantry unit cut to bits, but we survived... unfortunately I had to leave with a couple of turns to go, so Gavin finished the end off, and ... to be honest, the details are rather lost in a haze of Lemsip at present. So I'll redirect you to Gavin's report on the battle, with far better pictures and a good deal more coherence :D

Friday 9 March 2012

Battlegames issue 28

When I fired up the reader app on the iPad yesterday, it downloaded me the new issue of Battlegames, so, in a break from painting horses (I've been temporarily banished from the kitchen table and it's too cold out in the workshop), herewith a review.

My comments on layout and look of the previous issue still hold - Henry does a great job in producing a clean, readable magazine with no unnecessary colour and font tricks that make some rival magazines harder to read. Several great articles - the introduction to A Very British Civil War was something I've been rather hoping someone would write, the continuing story of the Grenoussian Intermezzo is a blast to read (and I'm working on a pass for this year's encore...), and the five-way colonial scenario looks like it has the potential to be a real blast on a club night.

I did, though, find myself finishing the magazine with a slight sense of 'is that all?'. Turns out the reason for this is that all the articles this issue are actually quite long, and in fact (setting aside the review and Forward Observer columns) there were, in fact, only six, compared to eight last time and seven before that, so... quantity not quality this issue :D

Still a great read, not at all sorry I subscribed.

[Folks with bookmarked (like me) should note that the new site for the magazine is and the reader is at]

Wednesday 7 March 2012

A horse of a different colour part 9 - finally, we get to paint!

A batch of Saxon Duguth cavalry horses (largely from
Wargames Factory) ready undercoated. Assuming they
come out OK, expect some pictures next time!
So here we are, with what WAS going to be the last article in the 'A horse of a different colour' series, in which we finally get to apply some paint to miniatures. It would have been nice to have wrapped this series up with my 100th post (which this is!) but as usual, I seem to have too much to say for one post....

A note: as I said in the previous post, I'm not going into highlight/shadow colour detail here - if you're good enough, and have enough time, to use the Foundry three colour system or similar, you're good enough to work out what colours you need. In general, what I describe for a colour is somewhere between the main and highlight colour, since I'll be dipping or washing the end result.

So, onwards. And first, undercoat.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

A horse of a different colour part 8 - "mostly bay"

So, if you remember from back around the end of January, we asked the question "what colour should the horses in my unit be?", and my second answer was "Mostly bay, unless there's a historical or other reason why not."

So, here we are with a cavalry unit, horses all assembled if necessary, and ready to paint, and that question comes up. Really, what follows is a series of followup questions.

Battle Report - 05-Mar-2012

The aforementioned freshly painted unit
of Gedriht - largely GB plastic Saxons. By
my standards, one of my better paint jobs.
But I am facing Andy, who's brushwork is
just beyond gorgeous.
Skipping over last week's battle for a while longer (I'll explain later), we move on to this week's...

Namely, an Age of Arthur battle (as practice for a campaign day at Maelstrom in April) with my new early Saxon Kingdoms army... well, to be strictly honest, one freshly painted unit of Gedriht, two gorgeously painted loaner units of Duguth from my opponent, the fabulous Mr. Andy Hawes, and a unit of Geguth and skirmishers made up by temporarily borrowing from other armies of mine (a British warband, and some Roman allied archers). The rest of the army is in various states of assembly/painting/in the post, honest, and I hope to make a sizeable dent in it over the course of this week and weekend (I better, the Analogue Hobbies painting competition finishes in a week and a half!).

We picked the 'Battle on the River Glein' scenario - simple enough: a river across the middle of the table with a ford and a bridge, the objective being to hold the crossings. Andy's Romano-British were the attackers, and he generously let me have first go.

Lesson one in Age of Arthur scenarios - always read the objectives. Why should become rapidly apparent by the end of this battle report!

Monday 5 March 2012

Designing scenarios part 3 - execution

Onward, and last (cor! a post series that only lasted one more post than expected, and is finished! whatever next?), let's talk about what happens 'on the day', as it were.

The Table

There are two almost conflicting things to consider here, Number one - use all the table. If you can't, make it smaller so it looks like you are! There's really no point, especially in a crowded club environment, for example placing the objective in the middle of the table for Blue to defend and restricting the Red forces to entering along one edge, as that renders half the table, pretty much, pointless. I'm guilty of that in my Op: Squad scenarios - most of them would have fitted on a 4'x3' or almost a 4'x2' rather than the 4'x4' that they were laid out on. Equally, though, don't just start Red's forces at the far end of the table simply to use all the table space. If Blue are in defensive positions they don't want to, or the scenario won't let them, vacate, and don't have long range weapons, you're going to effectively waste several turns until the sides get into range.

Friday 2 March 2012

Designing scenarios part 2 - the rôle of the umpire

Following on from part one, this section (perhaps inevitably) merits more thought than I expected when I started laying out the plans for this series (wow, was it really a month ago!). The extended digression in question is the matter of an umpire - should you have one, and what should his powers be?

I'll come right out and admit it - I spent a lot of my time between my teenage wargaming years and my recent rediscovery of the hobby as a GM for assorted roleplaying campaigns: predominantly D&D, but other systems (and complete lack of systems!) besides. I've done everything from lead a party through a pre-planned commercial scenario to tease them with a completely un-pre-planned whodunnit where there were several occasions on which they knew more about the plot than I did. As a result I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about about roleplaying games and GMing :D

Thursday 1 March 2012

Battle report - 26 Feb 2012 - Edgehill refought

Last Sunday was one of our regular club all-day games - downstairs, the guys were playing Warhammer Fantasy (which is one of the scant few times you'll ever see me mention it on this blog!), while upstairs, we had six folks for a large (12'x'6') Warhammer ECW battle.

Carl had produced individual
unit cards for both sides - here's
the complete Royalist order of
Umpired and arranged by Carl, this was in fact a refight of the Battle of Edgehill, though he made a point of not letting on. Between us, we had upwards of fifteen regiments of horse, a dozen or more foot and about a dozen guns, all painted 25/28mm figs (with the exception of a certain unit of Lobsters over which we'll just draw a veil, OK, Grahame?). The Royalist side was your humble scribe (in overall command), Al and Carl, taking on Grahame, Gary and Dewi.

It took us a while to figure
out that one of the club's
Citadel Gaming cloths is
not the same as the others!
 Scenery duly set up, we deployed - Rupert and three regiments of horse on one flank, the other three on the other, and five regiments of foot along with the Royalist artillery. As Grahame was in charge of the forces of Parliament, it came as no surprise that he elected to wait for us to come to them.

The Royalist culverins open fire
First blood to the King, as Al opened up with the culverins we'd sited on the ridge to the northeast of Radway village, and despite Carl's observations about guns in WECW being rubbish, nailed the range first time and proceeded to cut a swathe through two units of Cavalier foot. The return fire from Grahame's guns was less accurate, but remarkably irritating in that it cleared the front ranks of foot and twice managed to carry off members of the Gentleman Pensioners protecting the person of His Majesty. Most ill-mannered.

Rupert's wing advances
Meanwhile, both flanks of horse advanced across the hedges, coming under fire from assorted Parliamentarian groups of commanded shot. The Lifeguards elected instead to take the road: somewhere in the middle of this, I rather foolishly missed a charge I wasn't sure I could make, and left them in the path of a first full salvo from two units of shot at close range. The rebels most certainly could hit the broadside of a barn at that distance, and let me tell you that upwards of 35 shot with about a 66% chance to hit and an even chance to wound is very... very... messy.

Some of Gary's rather nice painted
Warlord firelocks
Meanwhile, in the centre, one of Al's units of foot was getting the undivided attention of a large gun battery, and on the other wing Carl managed to chase off the shot lining the hedges and get stuck into a classic cavalry melee (lending tone, as they say, to what would otherwise have been a vulgar brawl).

The horse on the rebel right prepare
to receive charge - more of Gary's
lovely painting.
On the right, the Parliamentary cavalry charged. Rupert, being Rupert, countercharged, won, outnumbered them, and chased them off, before turning to face the next lot. Basic maths suggested they should win this one too, being pretty much the best cavalry on the table by a long way.

Basic maths has a lot to answer for. Despite charging, and having a considerable number of attacks, I managed to do next to no damage on the Cavaliers, and collected enough in return that, horror of horrors, they lost the fight, and...
The rebels left centre, on the road -
some of Grahame's collection.


It is of course the case that at that point Rupert and his remaining horse elected to hare off up the Kineton road in pursuit of the Parliament baggage. The scurrilous rumour going round the rebels' camp that his regiment actually, y'know, fled the field, is just that. Rumour. Yup. That's the ticket.

Moving swiftly on....

Royalist and Parliament infantry go
at it hand to hand.
On the left, Carl's cavalry were starting to be in a position to sweep round the Parliament flank, and in the middle it came down to close range musket fire (bloody but inconclusive) followed by in with the pikes.

To be honest, 'bloody but inconclusive' quite sums up this phase of the battle too - much pushing and shoving, some casualties, but as night fell (read: as we hit the deadline to clear up) it was probably too close to call. Both sides would probably claim they had the best of it.

In conclusion? My thanks to Carl and the rest of the players for a great day. It did go to prove that if you approach WECW with the right mindset (i.e. not trying to minimax the living daylights out of it, but go with historically believable orders of battle - I think there were a total of two Veteran and one Elite unit of horse, and everything else, foot and horse, on both sides was Steady or Raw) it can produce a fun game that doesn't jar.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...