Monday, January 16, 2017

Some more Gauls/Galatians

I finished another few stands of Galatian's today so Ican now field a division's worth. A unit of cavalry, I'm toying with the idea of using two bases deep for cavalry, usually we only use one.  A mix of figures, some are Warlord, the rest? I've no idea!

If I do the same again (rebase 4x stands worth of infantry and anothr stand of cavalry) I'll almost be able to field a Galatian force- which is one of my aims.

A couple of stands of skirmishers.

This one is the new one and represents the general's guard unit. Again a range of figures, a Warlord chieftain, and several Black Tree Design (I think) as well as some Warlord plastics to fill the back ranks.

Tonight's job, finish my Numidian elephant stand and a couple of units of trained Numidian infantry and then I'll be  able to field an entire force with this new basing.


Hail Caesar basing continues

I've now finished rebasing a few units.

Numidian warband and skirmishers- mainly Foundry & a few Crusader (I think). Painted up the two stands of warband over the past couple of days: Two done 4-6 to go (once reinforcements arrive).

I am also going to add a few divisons of allied troops. The aim is to have building blocks of 4 units per divsion + skirmishers and will be able to morph this army into several others (Republican Romans and Carthaginians) etc.

As part of this project I've rebased two bases of Spanish medium infantry and  two stands of skirmishers to go with them. I'll add  two more units to add a Spanish division. These troops are all Crusader.

And 3 units of my new big based warband. I've put 8 figures on the Numidian light foot/warband bases. For these guys I wanted a bit of a denser formation so have 10 figure sper base. the figures are mainly Warlord Games plastic with a few extras including some Foundry Gauls. Yjhis allied unti will form the nucleus of a Galatian warband but can also double as Celtic allied warband in a Republican Roman or Carthaginian force.

My spacer bases- if required. I see by the rules and some comments of Rick Priestly I found in a TMP discussion on basing for Hail Ceasar on TMP that units within 25% of each other should work fine so am keen to try my 12cm bases vs the guys 16cm ones and see how it plays.

"Hail Caesar (like Black Powder)was designed so we could use our existing collections – regardless of how they happened to be based – and much of my own Roman army is still based for WAB (20x20 infantry). Still works fine. Any basing will do – even those big Impetus type bases – assuming you are not going to be forming marching columns. I'd tend to avoid overlarge bases if you're playing on very sculpted terrain – 'cos they slide off the hills and you can't fit them between the rocks/buildings/trees – but they work fine in terms of the game rules.
When basing up new armies I tend to go for a square base 40x40 for four infantry or 50x50 for four infantry if the figures are looser or bigger – i.e. if they don't fit a 40x40. Then a four base width of 160mm or 200mm makes a standard unit (it doesn't matter that they are slightly different – within 25% is the suggested parameter as per p16 of the rule book). But you can have units that are bigger or smaller as 'standard' to suit your collection or the size of the table – and occasionally I've placed 'half size' games in just this way – generally 2 or 3 or my 40x40 or 50x50 width."

Numidian commanders

The light horse.

Another view of the Celtic warbands.

Another view of the Spanish- these guys are on 6cm deep bases so will be used as medium infantry/auxilia but by adding the skirmisher stands to the rear rank can also use them as warband.

The Numidian light warband on the 8cm deep bases.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Operation: Rebase

Having enjoyed the game the other day I am frantically rebasing to get a force of Numidians assembled and ready for a rematch vs Kent and his carthaginians. Hunting through my lead piles I discovered 4x packs of Foundry Numidian infantry that will make a great start to my Numidian warband. That is about half of what I need so scanning the internet I have spied the new plastic Victrix Numidian light infantry and will add some of those to the Foundry figures to each base to bulk out the force. I've not bought Victrix before so am interested to see how they will turn out- they look good on the website.

I've revised my army list from the other day, doubling the infantry component and will need a total of 6 light infantry/warbands for the bulk of the Numidian light infantry warbands.

My figures are being rebased to the "Impetus standard" which has the look I prefer. That means my bases will be 12cm wide and depth varying according to troop type. So that figures don't get damaged I tend to go for slightly deeper bases for skirmishers and heavy infantry:

  • skirmishers: 4cm 
  • Heavy foot 5 cm
  • Light foot 6cm

Just to complicate matters further the local gamers use 2x 8cm bases= 1 unit in Hail Caesar so their unit frontages are 16cm wide. I'm not keen on 8cm, or 16 cm for that matter, bases anymore so will need to come up with a cunning plan for gaming vs the other local armies. I think I will add a 4cm wide spacer/sabot to increase their unit footprint. Luckily my light horse are already at the right (12cm) widths being "small units". At this stage I'll just use empty terrain covered "spacers" but may end up putting 1 or two figures on them. We will see.

The other issue I have is how to depict my warband units such as my Numidian light infantry.
In Hail Caesar light foot, warband are 3-4 ranks deep which means that bases need to be twice as deep, or two standard bases- which means a lot of figures, hmmm... Large Warband are double width (as well as double depth) in HC so that means a large foot warband unit is 4 times larger than my "Impetus" warband. Given that each base has 8-10 figures that is a lot of painting! Okay, so how does Impetus treat "large" warband? You add a second rank to the warband and once it has taken enough casualties your remove it, so a large warband in Impetus will be half the size of the large warband in Hail Caesar and deeper rather than wider on the table top.

Having given it a bit of thought this morning I've come up with a compromise (of sorts) that should work and will require slightly less work for large (HC) warband bases.  My solution? I think I'll make my warband bases the same size as my Cavalry bases, thus they will be 12cm x 8cm and will each have 8-10 figures in a loose formation on them. If I want to make large units then I'll add a second such base for Hail Caesar. For both games I think I will simply add a skirmisher sized base with 3-4 figures to represent the extra back ranks- that way the footprint will remain about right. An ideal solution? Maybe not but, and this is the important part, it should work.

Anyone got any idea which manufacturer these are? I thought they might be Crusader and quite like them so wanted more but aren't 100% sure which brand they are.

Rebased light horse and some Numidian command stands.

And the bases painted and ready for vegetation. However, I am unsure what I will add to add to them at this stage.

Below is this mornings efforts: Since I need 6 bases of warband I started rebasing some Celts (mainly Warlord plastics) which I'll use as Galatians as well as allies for the Carthaginians and Republican Romans and till I've enough Numidians done support for the Numidians too.

As you can see my idea of "spacer" bases. Adding a couple of infantry to these spacers would be visually appealing and would kind of represent skirmisher types on the flanks of the main warband.

So a bit of work finishing off these bases tonight.

It is nice to be back into doing some gaming related after a long, long break.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Game 2: Hail Ceasar

Yesterday Kent and I finally got a game in. He's had a couple of games of Hail Caesar with Tony, Dave and Stephen from the club and I'd been meaning to try the rules for a couple of years so we arranged a gameof Hail ceasar. As he has a Carthaginian army I cobbled togeher a force of Numidians to face them.

Memo to self, READ the rules before you play! I read, them, about a year ago, so the game was rather slow as we were flicking backwards and forwards through the rulebook and I found the chatty style rather annoying when trying to find the actual rules and get things right- the organisation didn't feel intuitive. Still my own fault for not reading them and need to give them another chance but wasn't overly impressed by the organisation of the rulebook.

Anyway Kent was going to play his beautiful Carthaginian army so I threw together a force of Numidians to face them. What can I say, I am drawn to flaky, light horse armies!

Anyway down to the battle.

I ran 3 divisions:
1x med infantry
4x light infantry warband
3x skirmishers
1x elephant

4x elite light cav

1x Spanish guard cav
3x elite light cav

Kent has the typical united nations of Carthage in two divisions and had something like:
2x Libyan heavy infantry
2x Gallic Medium infantry warband (large)
1x Spanish scutarri
3x skirmishers
2x light horse
2x Med Cav
1x elephant
(I'm sure there was other stuff too)

The Carthaginian battleline

My "Numidians" were a united nations as I put together what figures I could to make an army similar size to Kent's. I can see a few Celts press ganged into the Numidian army.

 The Numidian light horse and general's guard on the left flank.

Kent's fancy pants cavalry cover his right flank.

Turn 1 my light horse are charged on my right flank by his cavalry. I'm sure I should be able to retreat/evade but can't find the rules. How does feigned flight work? Couldn't find the evade rules so ended up having to take the charge- not pretty. Eventually I found the rules I was looking for a couple of turns later and my light horse started acting more like light horse by evading charges and not acting as medium cav- or the survivors did but by then the damage had been done.

In the centre Kent screen his two large warband with his Libyan spearmen and marched forward to crush all before him.

Steady men...steady. Splat. The Carthaginains charge home.
 Nellie vs Nellie

 Ah, so that is how you evade. My light horse (now knowing the rules) evade the Carthaginian medium cavalry while my Spanish Guard cavalry go rolling up his flank.

Where has my centre gone? Lesson learned it is better to charge than be charged!

Still the general is oblivious to the fate of his centre (and right wing for that matter) and busy slaughtering Spanish peasants. He has managed to avoid the messenger telling him his army has collapsed- if in doubt deny!

The few surviving Numidians beat a hasty retreat. If you look closely you may see my General';s Spanish cavalry crashing into the back of the Libyan spearmen at the top of the picture, just too little too late to save the day. Oh well.

A rather crushing victory to the Carthaginian's, in part due to me not being able to find the evade rules to keep my light horse alive (amongst other things) but we did ge the hang of the rules by the end of it. The rules didn't really grab me and was wasn't overly impressed by their organisation and trying to find info but only first attempt. The guys at the club enjoy them so won't totally write them off yet and need a few more games to get the hang of them before giving them a final verdict.

It is always interesting to see what you think a force should be vs how it performs on the table top. As a result of this thrashing I've gone back to the drawing board, adding more infantry and also will make some of the warband "large" to hopefully make them more effective- am now looking into manufacturers- I have found 4x packet sof Foundry Numidian infantry to start the process and may add some of the Victrix plastics to round them out,; I'm not usually a fan of plastics but Victrix plastics do look nice.

These two games have inspired me and I'm now busy rebasing and completing my Numidian forces. The guys are using 2x 8cm width bases to make up a unit (so each standard unit has a 16cm frontage). It does look good but I personally prefer the 12cm wide Impetus style basing so will go with that. It won't matter for light horse (they count as small units) but will make up some Sabots to make my bases 16cm wide if required. It means slightly fewer figures per unit for me but also will make more basing more flexible.

Some of my rebasing will be in my next post.


Gaming at last!

I am happy to report that after months of inactivity I finally managed to get some gaming in. Two games in two days in fact!

Simon and Mark were down from Wellington so we arranged our usual annual "Craigcon" catch up. I was down at the bach and got back to find an email checking if we were still on for a game. For some reason I thought it was next Thursday we had arranged but no, it was the one just been. They were turning up at 7ish and I only got home about 6:30 so quickly threw together two armies for Dux Bellorum. Not having read the rules in quite a while it wasn't going to be the best.

Anyway we had a God faring Late Roman army (supported by some monks) led by Barry, older and much less well known brother of Artimus, aka King Arthur. Apparently Barry was killed in some long forgotten battle and disappeared from and annuals of history, unlike his more PR savvy younger brother. Barry was out to rewrite history and make a name for himself, or die trying,vs a mass of unwashed, hairy Saxon (Gothic) rabble.

The game was a lot of fun, Barry charged the Saxon cavalry in turn 1 and remained stuck in combat for the rest of the game, slowly chewing his way though the enemy whilst his sheildwall (rabble) cheered on- or actually set about trying to win the game despiute him. About half way though we discovered not having a hill to stand on (British shieldwall tactics 101) is bad for sheildwall troops but by then it was too late, Simon and his sheildwallers were gleefully taking the fight to the hairy warband Saxon hordes who apparently "don't like it up 'em."

In the end though both armies broke and Barry was left alone and forlorn, even abandoned by his priests, to rue the fickle gods of fate.

We did make a house rule though, defensive LPs mean you get a save not automatically cancel a hit. It seemed to work well.

A few pictures:
Late Romans on the left, Hairy unwashed hordes n the right of picture.

Barry and his nobles
 Thew unwashed, and unnamed, Hairy hordes of Mark.
 Barry leads the boys in a charge, way to go Barry.

And promptly gets itself into all kinds of trouble. Being a wuss he used his LPs turn after turn defensively, whilst awaiting rescue from his fryd. Simon wasn't having any of that though and stoically marched towards the Saxon warband and away from his general. Barry never was one to command respect of his troops.

"They don't like it up em sir. Let's charge eh!"
What about finding a nice safe hill?  instead?
"Nah, hills are for girls."
 The armies clash.

Simon being far more aggressive than "Barry" used his LPs each turn to get extra attack dice.

A few turns later and Barry is still slowly hacking his way through the Saxons. Flanks, we don't care about flanks! Or as he was heard sayg to one of his followerers. "Surrounded? We're nobles we are supposed to be surrounded."

The Shieldwall even manages to push the warband back a few times.

 More random clashes.

Slowly both sides are being ground down.

Oops. Not much left now. Both sides on the point of collapsing. Barry still engaged in combat with Mark the Hairy- having chopped up the easier meat he is getting his arse handed to him by the Gothic general.

The Late Romans are all out of LPs.

A victory (just) to the Saxons/Goths. A great game, really enjoyed the way it played, fast simple, LPs made for lots of entertainment and decision making each turn with LP allocation mechanic. A fun game and entertaining evening, it is always a pleasure to catch up with Mark and Simon and definitely enjoyed Dux Bellorum.