Thursday, February 09, 2017

Saga: Freshney water; 915ad

Getting some regular miniatures games in this year so far, and the most recent was a couple of weeks ago when myself and Paul had a classic Saga match up.

We played the River Grossing Scenario once again, with my 'new' vikings against his Anglo Danish force.

I had taken more quality troops than Paul, and so decided to concentrate them on one of the crossings, hoping to make a swift bridgehead, whilst holding the other approach as neutral until later in the battle.
Opening dispositions
My left flank, facing the river ford, featured Besirkir, Hirdmen, Bondi and my Warlord, all thrown forwards early to try and rush the river; whilst the Anglo Danes held back a little further, which was what made me think I could jump the ground if I got the initiative.

The Anglo Danes were generally keeping their distance a little more, and I had a sense that though their left was weak, I would be better served breaking their right first and mopping up later.

Levies and Warriors on the AD left
It is my eternal good fortune that I have far more facial hair than Paul, as that means I will always win ties in the roll-off for Saga.  Thus I got the first turn I needed.

Lets get our feet wet
My troops started splashing across the ford in significant numbers; looking to intimidate an enemy known for its' intimidation.  This seemed to work, as Paul left a notable gap across the river for me to exploit.  So I sent over some of my Hirdmen on what I expected to be a suicidal charge, but one I could support with plentiful reserves.

Over we go!
In fact we executed great slaughter in the troops we met, thanks to the combination of additional abilities my battleboard offered.  For no loss in my axemen group we whittled one of Pauls Huscarl units down to a lone man; giving us a valuable bridgehead.

My Besirkir followed up and unexpectedly survived an attack on a unit of spearmen, who collapsed in the face of such pressure.  I was able to bring over my second line, whilst Paul had to draw troops over from his left in an attempt to shore up the breach.

Mid game
After being tricked into manoeuvre rather firing on me thus far, Paul's left finally tried to push forward and shoot.  This then placed them close enough for me to execute a charge.  Safe to say that it didn't go so well...
Argh! Levies!
Fortunately, the ford could not be going better and I now had far more troops on that side of river than Paul could handle.  He was having trouble stalling my advance, whilst I had picked of more of his troops.

It was time for me the try and resole the Bridge, but Pauls' sling armed levy have proved to be a bugbear unit in the past, and today they were living up to this reputation.  My Hirdmen were about to go into the meat grinder...
On my left I was able to bring over the last of my troop and block any options for Paul to break my overwhelming control of the river.

This land is ours!
On the bridge though the result failed to go my way, the only benefit being that his unit of spearmen on the left had always been so low a priority amongst the fires he needed to contain, Paul had only moved them once all day.

Do we both constitute a Bridgehead?
On his right Paul had burnt himself out against my numbers, and it was now in my interest to 'advance' (away from contact) into the hinterland of Paul's side of the river, making it hard, nay impossible to hit me before the game clock ran down.  For his part, Paul's leader withdrew from the threat of my flanking Besirkir, frankly playing into my hands.

This smells like victory.
And so after 7 turns, it was clearly in our favour.  Not only did the Vikings hold the enemy ground, but we had also killed far more of the enemy than our own losses.  The bridge was in our control but not in any way that actually amounted to victory points, still we gained many of those from the ford.

A great little game, though I feel we need some new scenarios to spice up the game.  Possibly this is due to the limits of the core rules, possibly due to the limits of the models we have, either way after a couple of dozen games I feel like we've played through all the options more than a few times.  This scenario I know I've played at least four times over the years, and yet to lose it seems.

Maybe it's time to try seeing if other scenarios are out there?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Conan: Adventurous Heroes and Tentacles...

So an army of Picts needs opposition, and more besides.  Given the simple technique I've elected to adopt for these models it was going to be easy to crank out the basic set of heroes for some scenarios.  After all, Most of the Conan models are dressed in a fairly skimpy manner.

Conan himself, of course

Shevetas; master thief

Balthus the archer 
Hadrathus the Sorcerer

Belit - Pirate Queen

Valeria of the Red Brotherhood

A princess - a useful model

Tentacles - what lies beneath?
Only the tentacles were handled at all differently, being so dark and simple they gained a couple of liberal highlight layers before the glaze, whilst the bases are a pleasing graduated shade for swampy, peaty, deep water; finished with a couple of layers of gloss.

All set for a game this Thursday....

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Vapnartak 2017

Just a quick post with a handful of photo's to reflect a short trip to the first local wargames show of the year.  I don't always go to the York show, maybe only every third year or so, but it doesn't change much; I don't suppose many shows do.  I could find some of my preferred traders by memory from the last time I was there...

Anyway, you can't deny it's one of the better venues for a gaming show.  But like most wargaming shows I still just found myself skimming the displays, avoiding the participation games (personal preference) and running around the traders as fast as possible.  Anyway here are a few photo's of some of the games.

First up a huge Warhammer/9th Age game; the Norse facing assorted Lizardmen hordes.

A WWI game in the Middle East by the looks of it.

 Leeds Nightowls had a small Lion Rampant game on.

 A nice repurposing of the Saga rules to the Bronze Age; pleasant scenery.

 Meanwhile in the Sudan; good use of off-the-shelf scenic pieces again.

 Lastly, there is always the same 'style' of game in the same spot each time I'm here.  As you no doubt have noticed over the years, I don't get many details of the games I see at shows down, unless I'm really, really struck by them.  Here it is once again; lots, and lots of scenery surrounds what amounts to a static display 6x4 foot game.  English Cvil War...

Of course there were many other games on show, but many passed me by, too many games of Wings of War, and my dismissive scan of one branded fantasy game seemed only to disappoint the lonely proprietor.  Ah well... Personally I only really go to Wargames shows to get a feel for whats out there (being rubbish at keeping up with the rumour mill) and increasingly to pick up books.

Overall I spent about £40, mostly on a book of scenarios for the American War of 1812 and some Perry French Napoleonics.

It was a nice trip out, but I couldn't stay long.  Not being there to play games, even with a huge site I was done in a couple of hours.  A good show; I just wonder sometimes if I'm show people...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Conan: Take your Picts

Remember when I dumped a pile of money on Conan - the adventure game by Monolith last year?

Well I did, and I finally got around to doing something with it.  Not playing yet, though I have read the rules and look to get a game arranged very soon.  Rather I sorted through the models a while back, and it got me to thinking. 'Hmm, there's probably a couple of Dragon Rampant forces in this box'; essentially.

In fact I think with careful planning the core set would field one or two forces, and the expanded Kickstarter set I invested in will form four or even five armies for DR.  Looking at the models I would want for initial scenarios in the Conan game itself, I opted to paint up a force of Picts.  So here we go:

So First up, a unit of 4pt Bellicose Foot.  Now the most obvious point here is, yes the poses are all the same.  These are models from a board game essentially, so the great variety of models included is compromised by limited poses for the rank and file troops.  The Picts are troglodyte-esque with a hint of Native Americans about them, so I elected to add warpaint - as shown on the unit cards in the game.  This also meant that leaders for units could be distinguished with additional red paint.

Those that go Before
 Next we have a Unit of Scouts at 2pts.  The proportion of warriors in the box are such that subsequent units have a leader from their number to bring them up to six models.

The Great Wielders of Pain
 Here is a unit of Elite Infantry, for 6pts.  Basing is simple to allow the models to blend into board game tiles as well as wargame terrain.

The Hunting Pack
 Here a unit of Lesser Warbeasts, with the Cunning special rule added for a total of 6pts.  The Hyenas are models that paint up better than they look, and I was pleased with the finish I got.

Zogar Sag and Fang
 Lastly, a reduced model count unit of Heavy Infantry with the Wizardling special rule, for a final 6pts.  Here Fang the Snake bears a burden of wounds, being effectively 11 wounds to Zogar's one.  Making this unit Heavy Infantry, seemed to suit the slower nature of a 50 foot long snake and its' spindly master, as well as a more defensive, ambush favouring fighting style.

So a round 24 points of troops, with a variety of troops, rather different from my Kobold army.  These came together pretty quickly, for as you may be able to tell, they have a shaded glaze finish; its' worked very well here.  More on the process in a subsequent post perhaps.

Next up, a few heroes to face them...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Somewhere in Antioch... 1260ad.

Suppose for a moment that Antioch had been rash enough not to become a tributary state of the Mongol empire when it invaded the Levant.  I don't imagine such an idea would've ended well for them.

Myself and Ross would endeavour to explore this idea, via a game of Lion Rampant.  In which my Feudal English would once again take on the role of Crusaders, whilst Ross - quite enthused by his first play of LR some time ago - would take on the task of commanding Mongol raiders, having assembled a set or two of the Fireforge miniatures for the part.

This looked like being a tricky challenge for my troops, as whatever the scenario this was going to boil down to a low mobility, low shooting army, facing a High mobility, high shooting one.  A real chalk and cheese encounter that I felt would advantage the Mongols heavily.

In the end the randomly rolled scenario would only make this seem even harder for me.

The battlefield and initial deployments
 The scenario was the Messenger; one that was a challenge for me and would've been easy for Ross had he been the attacker.  As it was, it was my task to get from one corner of the field to the opposite, with a Priest bearing vital documents in tow; for the most part, on foot.  Meanwhile the enemy was dispersed yes, but entirely mounted, and mostly armed with bows.  This set off looking impossible.

 Fortunately the crusaders were able to get most of their force on to the field before the Mongols closed; Ross proved to have a somewhat slow witted leader, who despite having a reroll for failed commands tended to need most of those himself.  My leader was of sterner stuff, but would spend much of the early game distracted by mounted scouts.

It would be up to my foot men at arms and their supporting infantry to try and draw the Mongols in.

Mongol bows shot down my scouts, but had no real effect on armoured knights - mounted or on foot.  In hand to hand fighting the Mongol general was repeatedly drawn into rash attacks on my strongest foot; eventually to be lost.  However the losses were enough to force my messenger back behind the lines of foot solders.

 My own general eventually caught and chased off the enemy scouts, and then with his full force still available to him, advanced to turn the flank of the remaining Mongol troops.

Close up on the charge
 At this stage there was a chance for a Crusader victory, but Ross' remaining heavy horse put up a sterling battle at the wadi.  A grinding match would ensue, whilst my remaining infantry tried to drive off the other, damaged, unit.

 In the end though, both would be grinding matches, and it came down to a pair of rallying tests for me.  Both would fail and my leader and final man at arms would both think it best to quit the field whilst the enemy was to weak to pursue.

End game
For the Mongols this would be mission accomplished.

When Glory was factored in it was a victory for them still, though the odds were evened up somewhat as I had managed 6 points of boasts.  As I recall it ended 8-6 to Ross.

This was, as I've already alluded to, a really tough game, enjoyable, but a real challenge.  My force as it stands is not suited to this scenario - which I've had to play twice against such a foe - and certainly not to this foe.  I think I will have to find some time to add some reinforcements to the English, but the question is what?  The three candidates are a unit of Mounted Sergeants, for more mobility, a unit of Crossbowmen (heavy missilery) to add firepower, or a unit of slingers to add more skirmishing.

Time will tell, but it looks like one of these must be recruited soon if we're not to be whipping boys to these 'mounted shooter' types.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Back to Kings of War - Orcs

When I'd finished my assignments for the semester I did find some time for painting over the course of the holiday period and early January.  Amongst a few other projects I managed to knock out some more Orcs and Goblins (unphotographed) for my KoW greenskin force.

Firstly a troop of converted 6th Ed. Orc Bows; now equipped with choppas and crude shields:

 As you can probably tell, they are rather crammed in on a 125x50mm base.  Ten models have to be ranked with six in the front to stan any chance of fitting in.  The effect is that of an aggressive shield wall; but this doesn't make ranking up multiple bases easy, to say the least:

There's quite a gap there!
 Less troublesome were these 4th/5th Ed. Bows, forming a troop of Skulkers.  These are led byan old metal Orc (bonus points for where he's from) and a converted musician from an old DnD game, I think.

Now there is nothing fancy to any of these, hence they were simple and quick to do.  A lot of the colour variation is simply produced by working with a steadily renewed single base colour - blended and applied as one goes.

For example, start with a basic green for Orc flesh and paint two orcs with it.  Add a drop of brown, mix and paint two more.  Add a darker green, mix and paint two more; and so on.  Soon you have lots of variety for little effort, also a good range of subdued, muddy, Orcish colours (it also works well as a process for medieval and barbaric types).

Finally a glazed varnish was applied for protection and shading.

Alongside 10 goblin spears also done, this adds about 400 points to my KoW forces - including the Trolls finished a few weeks ago.

I found I had a bigger window than first anticipated, and so there was time to do a few more Orcs, but I'm a mini gamer, we know how we get that way... A new shiny project distracted me.

But that will wait for another day.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Game of the Year - Beastmen vs. Kobolds

Paul looks like being a more regular attendee for the club in the coming year, his daughter having got through the teething and toddling stages of the most sleepless nights, and a move nearer to the heart of Leeds in the offing for his family.  This means we were in the position to try and arrange games again after a long hiatus, and after the grand battle to wrap up last year I thought a good place to start would be with another game of Dragon Rampant, but this time on opposite sides of the table.

Paul's Beastmen would face my Kobolds in a ruined jungle temple setting; we selected 30 point armies and took the standard Bloodbath scenario so that Paul could get used to the system.

Naturally Paul's army looks impressive, his brushmanship is top notch - though I think he told me the Shaggoth thing was someone else's handiwork...

 For my part I'm perfectly happy with my Kobolds.  What they lack in stature against the beastmen they made up in numbers and their more eclectic units.

Looking at the situation I decided to take some high risk boasts, one of which certainly would reduce my potency if I allowed it to become a long range game.  We both had wizards, but I decided to boast that mine would cast no spells, worth three points if I achieved it; alongside that I declared the Shaggoth a hated foe (2pts) and that my scouts would destroy a unit solely with their crossbow fire (1pt).

Battle was joined and I took the first turn, managing a general advance, slowed by some reluctance.  After a couple of turns the forces were coming into range of one another.

On my Left the scouts and Insect herders made swift progress, eventually charging and routing the Beastmen warriors.

Paul, was also in the process of losing his Chaos Hounds, so turned his Shaggoth to cover his flank.  I had turned my Jabberwock to the left, before wild charge urges took it out of commission and set a trap baited with Insects I knew the Shaggoth couldn't resist charging.

Alas he did resist, on account of low rolls for a couple of turns, and meanwhile in the temple yards Paul's Minotaurs advanced to take on all comers.

It did not entirely go well for them, and although I suffered losses of light troops my elite leader and his wizard evaded destruction.  Paul's leader retired to where his wizard could try to heal him.  In the distance an attritional battle between the Shaggoth and Jabberwock was only slowly going my way.

My leader and a handful of survivors did their best to keep out of sight and out of range.  The Shaggoth finally succumbed, and it left the Jabberwock close enough to the Minotaur leader to make a surprise attack to his rear.  They went on to wipe one another out.

He was caught and slain.  With only four units left on the board the game clock rolled an end.  On the table it was a narrow victory to me, 11 points of surviving units to 10, but I had completed two of my boasts to only a minor one for Paul,  I came out of the game with a 16-11 win.


The Kobolds are a feisty foe, despite their tiny size.  For once the Scouts were not the star payer, though they did survive to the end of the battle as usual and throw out some useful support.  My wizard holding his fire was an astute move, and really helped tip the game for me.  I think Paul kept his wizard at a distance wary of mine engaging, in fact the bluff was enough.

So a good way to start the year.  Next time out with DR I might try a different army though.

Which will be easy, as I just finished a quick and cheeky one; but more on that another day....