Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Samurai Battle part 2

The second part of the battle saw things break down into two very separate actions.  In and around the village Gus and Nathan fought a prolonged but ultimately indecisive battle.   With Shooters getting +2 when shot at in a built up area Gus, who got there first, was unlikely to be easily shifted.
Back on our left, my initial fears that I was about to be overwhelmed by a combination of Jamie and Richard were lessened when Ron’s and part of Gus’s forces came to my aid. Things got even better when Richard decided to make a flank march that would eventually put him behind my line but which would require him to cross the river twice.  This would slow him down and should give me time to deal with Jamie first.

Jamie and I fought a fun little action in which his Samurai blades struggled to come to blows with my archers because Jamie couldn’t roll enough PIPs.  
Eventually he did get six PIPs though and brought on the Dragon.  Repeatedly rolling one, Jamie then struggled to get the Dragon into action until eventually he was able to use it to attack my Magician General.  Killing the Snake Demon might well have swung the whole battle the kids’ way as my command might well have disintegrated.  Unfortunately for Jamie the dice were unkind and the Dragon fled the field.

Meanwhile Richard split his flanking force into two columns.  He managed to get one across the river but the other was successfully held up by some of Ron’s mounted Samurai.  The rest were cut to pieces by a mixture all three grown-ups’ forces.

Shortly after Ron was forced to go off to see Calendar Girls at The Crucible (poor lad), both Jamie’s and Richard’s contingents became demoralised and we called the game a victory for the Snake Demon’s forces.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big Samurai Game

Whenever I feel like attracting a large number of players to a Saturday afternoon bash I opt for Hordes of the Things.  The month we did a large (72 points a side) fantasy Samurai game.

We ended up with three younger players - Jamie Crawley, Richard Sangar and Nathan Helliwell and three "Old Farts - Gus Woodward, Ron Pearce and myself.  The younger generation took it upon themselves to declare that they would give their elders a pasting.

I firstly produced 60 point "Holywood Samurai" armies (historical armies but with Heroes added) and let the players decide who would have which.  Then I produced another 24 points worth of "fantasy elements" - Dragons, Ninja, Tengu, a Snake Demon Magician and a couple of Kami (classed as Clerics) oh, and a couple of pieces of artillery - which we would divide between us on the old playground approach.  They picked the Dragon, we picked the Flyers, they picked the Ninja and so on....

Below we see the Old Farts' deployment.  At the far end (click to zoom) are Gus's Teppo Sho (arquebus corps), then, in orange and white, his Warrior Monks (blades).  The middle distance mounted troops are Ron's - Samurai Riders and Heroes and a couple of elements of Ronin Warbands.  Finally in the foreground is my command - two Riders, two Heroes, three Shooters and the Magician.

My two Heroes and two Riders looked a bit weak, though, when I say Richard's two Heros and six Riders lined up to oppose me!

Added to which, Jamie's dismounted Samurai (top centre of the pic below) seemed to be aimed straight at me!  That's my line bottom right.

Meanwhile, on our right flank,  grand duel of the arquebusiers looked likely as Nathan's and Gus's Shooters prepared to scrap over the village.  Nathan also had half a dozen Hordes although these were unlikely to do well in the Bad Going (rice fields).

More later when I've put the youngest to bed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Reivers

The first element of my 15mm Border Reiver armies is finished.  It's the Warden's Slewe Dogs - a Beast element for Hordes of the Things.

Actually, now that I look at this close up pic, I think the dogs themselves need more work.  I think a brown wash is called for before I can call them finished.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Basic Impetus - a first go

I spent last night trying out (solo) a first full game of Basic Impetus.  Using my old Wars of the Roses figures blu-tacked to cardboard sabot bases I managed to get to a conclusion in 10 game turns and three hours.
The Yorkist army deployed in what seemed to me a reasonably standard deployment. From left to right, two units of longbows, a unit of bill, dismounted nobles, men at arms, more bill and more bows, oh and some handgun-armed skirmishers in front:
Units are referred to by their livery colours in the write-up that follows as I hadn’t taken particular care to ensure that I had the right nobles represented on the right side.
Having set up the Yorkists I decided to do something different with the Lancastrians and went for a heavily echeloned deployment intending to swing round anchored on a steep hill at the right hand end of the line. Again from left to right we have two units of bills and one of Borderers (with a unit of French mercenary crossbows in front of them) and then two units of archers in front of dismounted men at arms and mounted nobles.
The game kicked off with the Lancastrians getting the initiative (they would do so for each of the first four turns) and pushing the crossbowmen up onto the hill.  The rest of the army began to move forward with the left flank leading.  The Yorkists responded with a general advance and some ineffective long range shooting. 
Game turn two saw the first casualties as a series of extreme die rolls saw one of the Yorkists’ right flank longbow units routed by uncannily accurate shooting by its Lancastrian opposite numbers.  The remaining Yorkist archers replied in kind but the Lancastrian archers held their ground despite heavy casualties.
Game turn three saw advances on both sides without any significant developments.

With game turn 4 things began to get hotter.  The Lancastrian left wing archers wheeled to target their opposite numbers and the mounted nobles began to manoeuvre to pass them. 
In the centre, the Lancastrian “blue and yellow” bills charged the Yorkist handgunner skirmishers – they would surely sweep them away?  No, despite rolling 7 dice to their opponents’ two, the billmen inflicted no casualties and had to continue the melee!  Elsewhere, the Borderers charged the Yorkists’ “black and white” bills but were beaten back after heavy casualties on both sides.  
When the Yorkists turn to activate came up, the handgunners amazingly managed to hold off the enemy billmen again.
On game turn 5 the Yorkists suddenly gained the initiative.  In an odd quirk of the dice they would retain it for the rest of the game.  
Yet more dice oddity saw the Handgunners actually drive back the Lancastrian “blue and yellow” billmen.  Meanwhile, on the Yorkist left, their longbowmen reached the top of the hill and began an archery duel with the French crossbowmen.
The Lancastrians spent most of their turn reforming their main line and wheeling the mounted nobles into a position from which they could charge the Yorkist line in flank.  There was ineffectual shooting in their vicinity.
Game turn 6 saw the handgunners, who could be well pleased with their performance so far, withdraw through the Yorkist line leaving the Men At arms and dismounted nobles free to charge the enemy billmen.  This they did but surprisingly the men at arms were driven back.  Despite the subsequent arrival of the Yorkists’ “black and white” billmen, the melee continued.
Without the nobles managing to inflict any decisive damage.
Meanwhile the Lancastrian knights continued to wheel into position on the left whilst the crossbowmen inflicted heavy casualties on their Yorkist archer opponents. 
On Game Turn 7 the Yorkist general must have begun to appreciate the threat offered by the Lancastrian cavalry.  Whilst throwing his main battle line back into the fray, he hastily manoeuvred the hand gunners towards a position where they could perhaps slow down a charge by the enemy cavalry.
The knights now began to trundle forward towards the right flank of the Yorkist line.  Elsewhere melees and exchanges of missile fire continued and as a result of one of these the French crossbowmen succeeded in routing their opponents.
Game turn 8 saw more of the same.  The only major development was the rout of the Lancastrian “red and black” bills.  This put the Lancastrians one unit away from defeat.  
On Game Turn 9 the knights made contact with the handgunners.  The combat was brief and to the point with the skirmishers quickly swept away.
Game turn 10 saw the climax.  The first crucial combat wasn’t obvious at the time but up on the hill the Yorkist “red” billmen charged into the French crossbowmen and got the wrong end of some extreme die results.  With only 1 VBU left they were hanging on by the skin of their teeth when the Lancastrian knights thudded into the Yorkists’ dismounted men at arms.
The Yorkist general had been hastily wheeling bits of his line to face the oncoming storm but his men at arms, weakened by their long fight with the Lancastrian billmen, were shattered by the first impact.  They streamed away from the point of impact taking the “red” billmen with them.  In one combat the Yorkists had lost two units and enough to take them below their break point as an army!
I really enjoyed the game and for a solo it was remarkably intense.  At game turn eight I was convinced the Lancastrians were doomed and would break before the knights could intervene.  It was not to be though – that decisive charge would have looked great in a Hollywood movie!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Breaking the rules?

For many years now I've successfully restrained my tendency (shared with most other wargamers) to go whizzing off into new scales and periods by operating under three self-imposed rules:

Rule 1 - 20mm is skirmish scale and skirmishing is done in 20mm.
This means that I can't do 28mm skirmishing and I can't do massed battles in 20mm. This, in turn, means I can get away without having to build Rapid Fire sized units which tend to require a lot of figures and/or vehicles. 

Rule 2 - 6mm is massed battle scale.
If I come across a set of big battle rules I want to play I have to do them in 6mm scale. This has great advantages in both cost and time and 6mm massed units can look great.

Rule 3 - Rules 1 and 2 don't apply if the army in question is for Hordes of the Things.
This is because (a) HOTT armies are relatively small and (b) I know they'll see plenty of use thus justifying the deviation from rules 1 and 2.

Now, however, I'm weakening.  I've just had a little go at Basic Impetus by sticking a few of my old 28mm Wars of the Roses figures onto sabot bases.  I've just about got enough figures to allow me to do a couple of Basic Impetus armies.  In this case, I suppose I could relax the rules because I wouldn't eed to buy and paint any new models.

What's got me intrigued by Impetus is, as so often, the basing standard.  At 12cm frontage, an Impetus unit base is well suited to building the army in the form of a series of dioramas.  And what dioramas!  Check out this site.  I'm not going to achieve anything like this standard but you've got to admit it's damned inspiring!

Impetus seems, at first try to be quite fun and fast moving.  I've just thrown four unit each of Lancastrians and Yorkists at each other.  The charge of a unit of Lancastrian mounted men at arms into a pair of Yorkist heavy infantry units was instructive and had more flavour than you'd get from DBA or its progeny.  The bill unit hit square on by the cavalry was routed immediately but the supporting dismounted men at arms fought a back-and-forth melee over about three turns before loss of the other Yorkist units gave victory to the Lancastrians.

I think I'll give Basic Impetus a go at one of our Saturday sessions but i've got a feeling there's a big rebasing sessions to come.  Sod the Rules - leges utiles hominibus sunt!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Left off the list

The crews of these renaissance organ guns have complained mightily that I left them of July's On the workbench posting.

These guys, and the previously pictured spearmen next to them are the first elements to get a new, warmer, layered dry-brushing basing technique I'm experimenting with.  Obviously their static grassing is yet to come.  Click for a bigger pic.

On the workbench: July 2011

A bit washed out - I need to suss the flash on this camera - but I'm quite pleased with this gladiator.  It's one from a pack of Foundry gladiators I won in the raffle at Berkeley last year.  I need to add a shield before he joins my Wolf Pirates.

Next a base of Italian spearmen to join my growing 6mm Italian Wars collection that will hopefully soon see action under Renaissance Principles of War rules.

Massed units in 6mm scale really need flags to give them some individuality.  These crossbowmen have a Swiss flag.  They'll get a second rank before they are finished.

Finally, a couple of Airfix Golden Hind models that have been sitting unloved in my parents' attic for upwards of twenty years.  It's occurred to me that they would do for naval support to my 6mm renaissance collection.  Battle of Pinkie anyone?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gauntlet Acquisition

This weekend's Gauntlet show was a blast.  Jamie and I spent almost the whole weekend playing in the SOTCW participation game “Fifty Five Days At Peking”.

For details see the SOTCW blog and Pete Jones's Free Wargames Rules blog

I did, however, have time to peruse the bring and buy and I came back with a complete 1980s Swedish Armoured Brigade in 1/300th for just a tenner!  They're rather poorly based for Corps Commander but it's no hardship to rebase for Cold War Commander. Just click to enlarge the pics.

First the whole force:

Two thirds of the tanks; Stridsvagn S-103s or S-Tanks if you prefer:

 The 155mm howitzers and AT company vehicles:

Brigade HQ, engineers and AA elements.

The mechanised infantry components of one of the armoured battalions; the APCs are Pbv302s:

I always wanted to do a Soviet invasion of Scandinavia.  Now it looks within reach.