Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Siege of Hachigata part two

We recently played the second game of our Siege of Hachigata campaign with The Pikeman's Lament

The scenario was based on Dan Mersey's scenario The Relic from Lion Rampant. The general background was as follows:

The Takeda clan, under the famous warlord Takeda Shingen, are besieging the Hōjō clan’s castle at Hachigata in Musashi province.

The Hōjō generals have discovered that the Takeda have brought with their army a suit of armour that belonged to a famous clan ancestor. Takeda Shingen plans to wear it when his troops capture the castle. 

A plan was hatched to steal the armour, in its carrying chest, and take it into the castle. Ninja were hired to sneak into the village where the armour is kept. They would obtain the armour and carry it out of the village where they would meet up with a small party of Date Masamune’s men who would escort the relic back to the castle.

Last night Masamune led his men out of the castle and they stealthily made their way to a position on the road outside the village. There, they waited for the Ninja to return. Something seems to have gone wrong though. Dawn is breaking when the Ninja finally show up with a pack horse carrying the armour chest. The Date Samurai will have to fight their way back to the castle through the besieging Takeda army. 

Hōjō Tsebedetsu, seeing what is about to happen, leads his men on a rescue mission.

The table set up was identical to that used in the previous game. We began with a unit of Ninja (I used the stats of A Forlorn Hope unit but applied the "Thrown Weapons" rule to reduce their shooting range to 6" and their cost by one point to five) positioned on the road just outside the village.

The remainder of Masamune's men were deployed along the road by which the Ninja would leave the village.

Unfortunately, Phil (aka Hōjō Tsebedetsu) was unable to be with us having been taken poorly on the way over. I was forced to stand in. Sorry Phil, both for your feeling poorly and for my dreadful performance as Tsebedetsu.

Andy (Honda Gozemon) and Mark (Takeda Mochinaga) were coming on from opposite sides of the table with the objective of stopping the enemy getting away with Uncle Shingen's armour. 

Advancing from the castle gate I sent forward a unit of dismounted Hōjō samurai into the marshy area to the left of the road. This was ideally positioned to lure Mochinaga's cavalry into a wild charge that would have seen them floundering in the mire and cut down by their ferocious opponents.

Stupidly, though, I sent forward a second unit that remained in the good going. This game Mark the choice of which unit to Wild Charge against! In the picture above you can see the result. My second Samurai unit (red sashimono, top right) has been reduced to two figures, one of whom is Hōjō Tsebedetsu!

That the Hōjō Ashigaru have gained a morale-boosting agitator (marked by the green token) was small compensation.

Nearer the village, Ron was working hard to try to get away with the packhorse carrying the armour box. The ninja were wiped out early and a samurai unit was escorting the relic. Threatened by a nearly intact mounted Samurai unit and some Ashigaru arquebusiers, it wouldn't be long before they were caught.

At this time Honda Gozemon decided to challenge Date Masamune to single combat (thus achieving one of his pre-game Boasts).

The result was a draw and both samurai returned to their units. 

As it happens, we'd discussed single combats prior to the game and came up with a house rule for this particular campaign. 

Normally in The Pikeman's Lament any officer's death results in a post-game roll on the Officer Casualties table with results ranging from dishonourable death to heroic escape. We weren't sure, though, that this fitted well with Samurai duels, which would often have ended with the losing fighter being beheaded! It would be fine, from an historical flavour point of view, to say that duels that end in a victory to either side are fatal to the loser but that would be less fun from the campaign point of view. In the end we decided that, in the case of duels only, we would roll twice on the Officer Casualties table and apply the worse result. This makes death a more likely outcome whilst still leaving open the possibility of escape.

Shortly after this, with my/Hōjō Tsebedetsu's forces too far away to assist, the last member of Date Masamune's samurai infantry unit was cut down. This took Ron's leader out and meant that the Takeda were able to safely retrieve the box of armour for the win.

This left us needing to roll for both Tsebedetsu and Masamune to see if they survived the battle. 

Hōjō Tsebedetsu, it emerged, had been captured whilst fighting honourably in combat. He was ransomed back by defenders at the cost of three points of Honour. He had also failed to achieve his boast that all of his units would succeed in making at least one attack during the game.

Date Masamune was also captured but only after he had been caught hiding in bushes alongside the river. Ransoming him back cost him 5 points of Honour. He had made no pre-game boast.

Meanwhile, Takeda Mochinaga had won the action and although he had acted without panache at one point and failed to achieve his boast (that he would kill or rout at least half of his enemy's units) he gained a net three points of Honour.

Honda Gozemon was the hero of the day, however. Also on the winning side, he achieved two boasts (The katana not the bow! - killing more enemy models in close combat than by missile fire; and Hear my lineage! - challenging an opposing leader to a duel). Acting without panache at one point was the only negative and he finished with an additional seven points of Honour!

After two Takeda wins, the campaign scores are now very spread out:

Honda Gozemon has 27 points 
Takeda Mochinaga has 17 points
Date Masamune has 14 points
Hōjō Tsebedetsu has 7 points.   

In addition, Honda Gozemon now has the Banzai! trait. This is my Japanese-appropriate replacement for the rules' Gå På allowing a unit within 12" of him to automatically pass a Move activation once per turn.

Given that the Takeda have now won two consecutive actions, I wonder if the next one should be an attempt to storm the castle (or at least to seize an isolated bastion)?   

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Plan for the year

I know we're well into February but I'm just now beginning to get a picture of what I want to get done over the coming, let's say, ten months.

First up, I plan to host at least one game a month across the year. The emerging Samurai campaign using The Pikeman's Lament will go some way to making that a reality.

I've got quite a lot of ACW figures still to finish. I'll certainly get them done and plan to organise a Sharp Practice mini-campaign based on the operations of the Mississippi Marine Brigade but that'll probably be towards the end of the year.

Before that, Richard P and I have a plan to do some Sharp Practice set in Latvia in 1812 and we're also down to run the Riga game at Sherwood Outlard in April.

I've decided that a major modelling project will be to concentrate on upgrading my existing stuff rather than buying loads of new terrain and armies. This afternoon I've been upgrading some 20mm Fallschirmjäger and painting a second Humber Scout Car (the original one, furthest from the camera, was done a year or more ago). 

I've also upgraded this ruined building from Commission Figurines, adding more rubble, internal floors and roof as well as adding more painted detail to the exterior.

I'm tempted to have a go at adding some broken glass to the windows but that may be a step too far.

I'd like to get my 20mm Second World War collection to the kind of standard that I'd be happy using it to present a game of Chain of Command at a Lardy Day. That's a high standard to aspire to though. Not sure my existing plastic figures will cut the mustard, even with improved paint jobs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Quick terrain

This is by way of a recommendation. If you're at a show where Richard Phillips is selling the Scotia Grendel resin terrain, it's well worth having a look at what's available. 

They come in blister packs and, once undercoated in black, they paint up really easily. These two dungeon terrain bits took me about a hour to paint this morning (I'd undercoated them a few days ago).

I'm not sure how much longer Richard will have them in stock so it's worth making a purchase while they're available if you think this sort of thing will improve the look of your fantasy games.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Union Forces Progress Report

Regulars here will know that, over the last year or so, I've been busy painting ACW figures for Sharp Practice. I thought I'd take stock and provide a picture of progress to date on the Union side. I'll follow up with the Confederates shortly.

Starting at the front and going from left to right we have a group of six Mississippi Marine Brigade skirmishers with a sergeant in charge and then two mounted cavalry leaders; a lieutenant and a corporal.

Second row sees two groups of Mississippi Marine Brigade infantry in line led by an officer who is accompanied by a drummer. Then we have two groups of dismounted cavalry with officers and one of mounted cavalry.

The third row has three groups of generic line infantry (an Illinois regiment was attached to the MMB) and then at the back there are a few engineers (I didn't include the half figures who are up to their waists in water), an MMB artillery crew, and finally my field hospital.

The field hospital was completed recently so here's a first view of all of the components together:

The figures are a real mixture of Perry plastics and metals, Artizan Plains Infantry, and assorted secondhand figures.

Looking back at my painting diary I see that I've produced these (and their Confederate opponents) since late November 2021. I'm quite pleased with that productivity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Zebra Tribe!

I'm busy building American Civil War figures for Sharp Practice at the moment but I recently decided to take a bit of a break and do some figures for Gloranthan Song of Blades and Heroes. 

A couple of white metal zebras of unknown origin were given riders in the form of Foundry Miniatures plains Indians. In addition, because SOBH is more likely to get played than Hordes of the Things at the moment, I decided to rebase my old Zebra Rider unit too. The result is these guys:

They should be useful in future scenarios around Pavis and in the Praxian Wastes.