Saturday, 29 January 2011

Plots, Plots, Plots.

Hopefully within the next fortnight I should be in a position to upload a couple of roleplaying adventures that have been in preparation for the last couple of months. The first is an offering for old school Dungeons and Dragons ( or any of the more recent derivatives)  titled "Guilds of Altmark" ; the players find themselves locked up in the local clink and have to navigate their way through city politics and the local underworld to recover certain items in order to secure their liberty.
Secondly is " Osbaston's Legacy" for Call of Cthulhu, intended to be run in a purist vein the benefactor of a Victorian botanists last will and testament may inherit more than they bargained for.
Presently I'm finishing off a few of the handouts for the latter prior to running a playtest and hopefully then things will be ready to rock and roll.

A Trio of Tarentines "Up from the Sea"

After the recent surfeit of phalangites I felt obliged to complete the last of the Tarentines received from Aventine pre Xmas.

There is a lesson in here children so pay attention. A lack of enthusiasm for painting more dolphins on shields tempted me down the route of weathering the shields on the above in the mistaken belief that this would save time. This laziness produced a less than satisfactory result and the resultant shading and stippling took twice as long as it would ordinarily have taken to paint the things properly in the first place. So there you go, there's no such thing as a short cut.
Regardless I do rather like the effect and its set me to contemplating just how adhesive and durable ancient paints would have been particularly when it comes to adhering to metallic surfaces in hot climates. Food for thought there I think.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Wouldn't want to meet these on a dark night.

( Or a flat battlefield). A whole four feet of Phalangites.

A Trend Reversed & the Normal Equilibrium of the Spheres is Restored.

I think I may have to cut down on the Moorcock judging by the above.
Back in the real world a report on last nights American War of Independence game enacted at the premises of Mr. Paul Ireland.
Another fictional scenario which we have named "Orchard Gap " for some arbitrary reason.
The forces involved were as follows:

British ( Mr. P. Ireland)

Listed from right to left flank.

55th Foot. trained
9th Foot. raw
Orange County Loyalist Battalion. trained
23rd Foot. veteran
12th Foot. veteran
Composite light battalion. Elite
De Lancy's. Elite.
Note. 9th & Orange County Loyalists in column of march on road.

Continentals ( me)

Listed from right to left flank.

9th Continental. trained
6th Pennsylvania. raw
1st New York. trained
( all the above were deployed as a second line reserve)
8th Continental. elite
( in column on road)
Marksmen. veteran
Virginia Militia. trained
Webbs Additional. raw
3rd New Jersey. trained
( all the above formed the 1st line)

The game commenced as a partly deployed fictional meeting engagement seen below from a Continental point of view.
The British quickly deployed their centre into line and began the first of a series of attacks against the thinly held Continental line centred on the road.

The continental forces responded by advancing the 3rd New Jersey to try and prevent the 55th Foot from breaking through on the near flank.
 On the other flank the 9th Continentals & the 6th Pennsylvania advanced through the orchard to support the marksmen holding the fenceline in front of the farm in face of another aggressive thrust from the British in the shape of the Light Battalion, 12th Foot and De Lancy's.
In the centre despite heavy losses the British attack continued to make good ground pushing back Webbs Additionals and Virginia Militia in a series of bayonet charges. The attack of the 3rd New Jersey also proves fruitless and they rout back beyond the supporting line of the 8th Continentals to join Webbs Additionals.See below.
Similarly things begin to go awry for the 9th Continentals in the orchard as a determined attack by De Lacey's causes an undignified rout leaving the 6th Pennsylvania no option but to withdraw to the further fenceline and attempt to stymy them with musketry.

At this point I conceded having lost the majority of the field to the British. However as casualties were roughly equal we concluded that it would only count as a minor defeat.
In conclusion this was a much closer game than the previous attempt ( see Irelands Farm) due in no small measure to the quality of the forces being better balanced this time. To be fair Paul did a better job of concentrating and prosecuting his attack through the centre much quicker than I responded to it ( the 1st New York never fired a shot), but some better dice rolls and difficult terrain helped me hold the right flank firm till the bitter end.
This game was again played using an adaptation of Fire & Fury which despite some initial misgivings I find myself warming to, its nice to find rules that do reward good tactics. The only issue we need to address for next time is the size of the regiments; at present the largest unit size we are using is eight bases which all too often gives inconclusive results in combat. Next time we hope to use larger brigaded units of ten bases+ to try to force some more tactically interesting circumstances.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Given the straightened economic times we find ourselves in I had ( note past tense) made a conscious decision to justify every figure purchase made this year. In pursuit of this ideal I sat down the other night and listed all my current successor wants with a rating of 1-10, one being absolutely not, ten being a clear yes. Now near the top of the list were 1st Corps Seleucid cataphracts, Aventine Tarentines ( for conversion to generic light cavalry with the addition of some spare thureos lying in the spares box) and several packs of Copplestone Somalis for use as arab irregulars.
Right at the bottom with nil point were phalangites. What did I buy 5 minutes ago on Ebay, phalangites; and not even Seleucid phalangites but bloody Antigonid phalangites, yes phalangites from my least favourite hellenistic army. In defence they were polemarch jobbies and they were only 15 quid for a whole 28, but all the same its another in a long succession of broken resolutions. I blame the internet, in the old days when it was just mail order this situation could not have arisen.

....... postscript. But at least now I have a full syntagma.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Phalangites again.

A quick update from the paint station of doom.
The first twelve of the latest phalanx, this time with that Seleucid staple the anchor as a shield device.
The file leader is a Gripping Beast standard bearer with sarissa for some variety, the aspis leaning against his leg has a strap added using lead foil as has that of his Taxiarch who has the strap bunched up in his right hand.
This is a fringe benefit of drinking better quality wine, just occasionally I can still get hold of a bottle that has genuine lead foil over the cork which in turn keeps me in straps for scratch building. Despite all the improvements in modelling accessories over the years I've yet to find a more versatile and malleable material for making straps and belts than old fashioned plumbum.

The Battle of Irelands Farm.

A quick write up of the American War of Independence game that we played on new years eve. This was played using a version of Fire & Fury that Paul owned.

The forces were as follows:

The British ( Mr. Paul Ireland)

Four regiments of line Infantry including 23rd, 55th, 9th and de Lacey's ( I think) along with a two battalions of light infantry and a medium gun. Morale was determined randomly as units were activated. The 23rd were rated as elite all others green or trained.

The Continentals (me)

A regiment of Virginia militia, Webbs replacements (?), NewJersey, New Hampshire, Maryland & Pennsylvania line regiments and two medium guns. All were either elite or crack excepting the militia who were green.
This really was a case of beginners luck as all my dice rolls for quality of Brigadiers were equally as good as Paul's were correspondingly poor.
Above: The Continental forces deployed for defence.
Above: The Brtish right flank.

Right from the off things started to go awry for the British, in the Continental firing phase some solid shooting from the artillery landed hits on the British centre causing one regiment to retire off the board whilst another was disordered by this precipitate flight.
The British continued their general advance across the board, concentrating their efforts on the flanks, the Virginia Militia were ejected from their position on the far flank and retired to the rear. On the near flank two British battalions rapidly closed on a Continental regiment and its supporting guns.
Despite losing a battalion in the process the British pressed home this attack with cold steel pushing back the Continentals opposing them, though not the battalion which was about to enfilade their flank.

On the other flank the British 23rd were unable to press their advantage against the Virginians who were relieved by a Line battalion ( a combination of being disordered and bad manouvre dice) and found themselves facing a fresh Continental battalion to their flank ( a consequence of some very good manouvre dice).

The resulting crossing of bayonets caused them to retire through their light infantry supports who found themselves in a nasty situation.

The resulting fire fights resulted in the virtual annihilation of the British left wing.

With a similar situation on the other flank the British packed it leaving the Continentals in possession of the field.
All in all a highly enjoyable game. A lot of my success was attributable to some truly remarkable dice rolls early in the game also Paul's early loss of a line battalion was a hard blow to recover from though he came very close with his right flank attack. In the end though numbers and troop quality told.
Definitely a period we will return to mainly down to the rules which flow very well and contain some good mechanics, I particularly like the manouvre mechanism which rewards a good result with extra marching capacity.

Monday, 3 January 2011

A Rare String of Victories.

Dipped a toe in the water with a new period on new years eve. Even after 25 years of wargaming there are still things I haven't tried, the above mentioned period being one of them. Played on away territory at the premises of my usual opponent Mr. Paul Ireland using his figures and refought with an adaptation of Fire & Fury it resulted in a decisive win for the visiting team. Mr. Ireland was kind enough to take pictures of this momentous event and providing he doesn't doctor the evidence too much I will post them here with a corresponding report later this week.
This is a rare winning streak for me coming on the back not only of the Raphia win last Monday, but also a rare board game victory on Thursday evening. I don't get along to my local board game club as much as I would like but a result like this is a definite spur. The game in question was 20th Century by Czech Games Editions and no doubt was a fluke on my part as I don't have a very good success rate, despite having board gamed for the last five years you could count the victories on the fingers of one hand.
Despite all this unaccustomed success I'm still enjoying both hobbies and look forward to 2011 with my usual enthusiasm, as someone said to me recently " this isn't a rehearsal, this is the big gig". Best wishes all.