Saturday, July 31, 2010

In the beginning....

I started wargaming about the age of 10. The biggest influence in my early years being the books of Donald Featherstone- Wargaming, Advanced Wargaming Solo Wargaming, Wargaming Campaigns, etc. I must have had those books on semi-permanent loan from the Christchurch Library.

Many of those books are now available again thanks to John Curry and having bought several of them last year I was surprised at how much I still enjoyed reading them. The books are really more a toolkit of ideas and suggestions as opposd to the 10 Commandment style of modern rules where players are actively encouraged NOT to tinker with the rules and take ownership of their own fun.

I fondly recall my friend Ian and I as 10 year olds laboriously typing out the Lionel Tarr World War Two rules from Donald’ Featherstone’s books, and then over time modifying and adding to our own take on the front armour of a king tiger. When I was about 13 I bought my first ever wargaming book, Operation Warboard, which I had to order from the UK. Ian and I loved the way the rules were set out and these rules were incorporated into our own homebrew rules. Airborne landings and sea invasions became a staple of our games. We still prefered Lionel Tarr’s combat rules to those in Operation Warboard so cobbled the two rulesets together.

About 1986 we finally saw a copy of the WRGs WWII rules and added parts of those. About that time Ian became infatuated with D10 (too much Dungeons and Dragons) and modified the WRG tables to create his own WWII D10 ruleset which he used for many years.

One of the thing I love about old school rules is that they harken back to a day when wargaming was a hobby and not a consumer driven business. If “off the shelf rules” didn’t suit you modified or adapted them and made them your own. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy playing modern rules and GW and Battlefront have really lifted the standard for both production values of rules and the quality of figures on tables but at the same time I do feel sorry for younger players who missed those years when gaming was still in its infancy and rules encouraged players to dabble and use their OWN imaginations. I guess I’ve been lucky with my two favourite hobbies- Wargaming and Role Playing games to have started to exciting hobbies that unlock the imagination and encourage creativity- and so for that I guess I, like many wargamers my age (damn, I’m sounding old!) I owe thanks to Donald Featherstone for making wargaming accessible.


Friday, July 30, 2010

New Camera

I am sick of fuzzy photos so today I splashed out and bought a new camera, hopefully this will make for much sharper shots.

Here are a couple of my initial test shots. Syrian/Arabic infantry (Perry miniatures). Much clearer!

Next up the A&A Sassanid cavalry in the midst of the assembly process. Alas down at the club for many of our Sci-Fi gamers this would actually be table top standard- I kid you not!

Which brings me to one of my pet peeves, playing unpainted miniatures. One thing you'll never catch me doing is playing unpainted figures, ever! My main motivation to paint my figures is so I can field them! To me wargaming is a visual hobby and there is nothing like the sight of decently painted armies on decent terrain. Hell even very averagely painted armies look a damn sight better than unpainted lead! Unfortunately at our club some of the players armies have been in "GW silver" for as long as they have been attending (which can be for several years!). As far as I'm concerned it does absolutely nothing for the hobby but I'm not sure how we can lift the standard.

I have a couple of simple rules when it comes to wargaming.
1. Paint before you play.
2. Don't offended if, after having spent numerous hours painting my miniatures, I refuse to play you because you cannot be bothered painting your figures. IMO life's too short to waste my valuable spare time playing someone who can't be bothered putting the same effort in and putting on the table a painted army. I'd rather spend my time playing someone else or not playing as to me playing the silver hordes is about as appealing as watching paint dry. Some people might get upset but as far as I'm concerned seeing painted figures on the table is half the enjoyment of wargaming.

Luckily though, the guys I game against have similar standards- as is witnessed by Kent's 8 day Roman army mission last week. I had a Roman army for him to sue but he wanted to get his own done, and managed it in 8 days.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Impetus Battle Report

Kent and I managed a re-fight of the Numidians vs the Imperial Romans. Kent has been busy this past 7 days painting up his Roman force! From woe to go in 7 days, pretty damn good!

Romans on the left, Numidians on the right. The far left Romans had 2 x cav then the legionnaires and auxillia, 2x auxillia and bow on the far right. The Numidians deployed 4x infantry, elephant, Cav general and then the Roman trained infantry, with the light horse protecting the flanks.

The Numidians advance as do the Roman cavalry.

My glory hunting general managed to kill himself on a wall of blades while his supporting elephant retreated. Doh! Must remember to use javelins to wear down (disorder) those legionnaires!

Kent's Roman General stand.

Runaway! The light horse flee- at the top of the screen you can just make out the other Roman cavlry unit which is about to be cut down by a volley of javelins- after pulling back from engaging the Numidian infantry. At least I'm getting the hang of this!

Things are not going well. The Numidian trained infantry are taking on heavily armed legionniares- at least I've managed to wear them down with volleys of javelins.

My light horse pull back to cover my rear- that's never a good sign! However, I did manage to get the skirmishers behind the Roman lines and the captured some retreating legionnaires!

Moments later it was all over- the roman cavalry destroyed 2x light horse, the archers finished off the third and that put my army under half strength.

A comprehensive victory to Kent, although I did manage to kill 2x stands. Up the guts with light and medium infantry is NOT the way to take on the Romans- next time we'll try to make better use of the terrain and possibly win on one of the flanks with my light cavalry.

We still had to look up a few things but the game flowed better- and we are getting our heads round the rules- I've just got to remember to put units onto opportunity.

Things to remember for next time:
Light cav are -2 dice from bows- that would have kept one unit alive as at long range he could not have hurt me.
Light horse can make a full move rearwards without penalty- that would have stopped some of my disorder issues.
I'm sure there are a few other things Kent picked up as well.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More (28mm ) Reinforcements

The start of my 28mm Sassanids from A&A miniatures (2x elephants and some barded cavalry) arrived today so I am now in 28m elephant overload! Not sure where the rest of the order is at this stage but hopefully arrives in the next few days.

Kent is busy working on his 28mm Imperial Romans so I think I might try to get the Sassanids completed for our Impetus demo game at TAGCON as we will be able to have 2x commands per side by combining my Romans with his and possibly adding some Arab or Numidian allies to the Sassanids.

I also received some BlackTree Design Arab infantry & Norman knights which I'd forgotten I'd ordered but did so to take advantage of their summer sale. The Arabs are a bit chunkier than the Perry range but heightwise seem okay so they'll do for my city milita for the Syrians.
If I recall correctly I got the Norman knights to start my Crusader force and will bulk them up with some Crusader Miniatures figures in time.

So the backlog grows faster than I can paint (again)

Edit- and the semi-finished products- tonight's painting job.

Very nice models- a bit of assembly involved as the elephants are about 9 pieces (including the 5 part howdah) but well worth the effort.

The figures are nicely proportioned and moulded, easy to paint and have good detail. I am looking forward ot painting the rest of this force and will be using A&A again!


Monday, July 26, 2010

28mm Carthaginian Elephant + Syrians

Tonight I painted up the first of two Old Gloy 28mm Carthaginian elephants. I was really pleased with the models, they go together easily and look great. I've still the crew to do and the base but it is well on the way to completion.

Old Glory 28mm Carthaginian elephant and Eureka 15mm one for comparision.

Still a bit of work highlighting to do, and giving the elephant a wash and final drybrush.

I also painted up 2x elements of skirmishers for the Syrians. Kent has ordered his Crusaders so I need to get cracking on finishing this force. I've done all the infantry (6 bases altogether) and am now awaiting the cavalry to arrive so I can carry on.

Last night I completed two stands of Syrian infantry (more Perry miniatures). I've run out of Silfor grass so completing the bases may need to wait a while.

The 300 pt Syrian Army I'm working towards for Impetus is:

3x Ghulam Lancers
3x Syrian Cavalry
4x CL Turcomans
2x FL Kurdish
2x FL Gaziz
2x S Archers


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rivers & Roads

I was a bit bored yesterday so thought I'd make some rivers and roads for DBA.

4mm cork tile
permafilla (for river banks)

Very basic- each section is 4cm wide x 30cm long. They look reasonable though.

Do I need 8 road sections? Not really, I've done 2 each for dry/desert boards and arable terrain for myself and 2 for the club. I'll eventually get round to making some rivers for the club but wanted to experiment with first.


Friday, July 23, 2010

DBA & Terrain

I managed 2 games of Alans vs Sassanid Persians at TAG on Wednesday. Barry and I took turn about with each army, the result was 2-0 to the Alans and once victory to each of us- the Alans knights being the deciding factor in both games

Last night I headed up to Christchurch as I had a course today and a managed 4 games of DBA last night vs Ian (we decided DBA was going to be less hassle to set up than Impetus).

Alas the score was 3-1 to Ian but we had some very entertaining games, including one where he survived 6 attacks with the door closed which would have cost him the game! Grrr... When the dice hate you, they hate you! I was mainly using Picts, which I surprised myself by enjoying using, and Ian used Sub Roman Britons.

Anyway I took a couple of snaps of his figures & terrain. All his armies are based 40mm square and look good as does his scratch built terrain.

Sub Roman British spear.

The first game- Scots-Irish vs Sub Romans Britons.

The Scots-Irish "Do a Harold" and hang out on the hill.

Roman Villa

Pictish village

Very talented, pity he usually only games when he comes down to my place or I visit him!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DBA II/69 Sassanids & II 58/ Alans

Today the last of my Sassanid army arrived- too late for the weekend alas, but they are now paitned up and ready to go. Perhaps with their own Sassanid Elephant and hordes the army will start to perform better!

The AB miniatures are lovely models, I'll definitely be getting more in future (as if I need more 15mm!).

2x Hordes- levy.

2x Hordes, 1x elephant and Cavalry General- all AB figures.

The Cavalry- mainly Legio Heroica Muslims.

Essex Light horse and auxilia.

Alans II/58
I've always liked light horse armies but they do struggle in DBA. I made a Hun army about 5 years ago but have hardly sued it, last night I rebased it and renamed it Alans.

The mounted are all Essex Huns if I remember correctly. I rebased them last night.

6x Elements of Light Horse- in most situations I'll only use 5 though- I thnk I can fiedl aobut 8-10 if I really wanted to.

4x Knights- the heavy hitters.

2x Blade, 1x Psiloi. Splintered Light Saxons which will represent various goth heavy infantry. Another great range Splintered light.

Impetus Battle?
I also painted up the general stand for my Impetus Numidians. I have to be in Christchurch for some training on Friday so may take the Romans and Numidians and give Ian a game while I'm there.

Impetus Crusaders
Kent has just ordered the start of a Crusader army with Perry miniatures so I'll have to get cracking on finishing the Syrians soon.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Christchurch DBA Comp

Yesterday the DBA competition was held in Christchurch. There were 16 players, 7 of them from down here in Timaru.

I'd like to report victory but alas my Sassanids got their butts handed to them in 4 out of 5 games.

Going into the comp I was concerned that the 2x horde elements might prove to be a bit weak and that I lacked bad going troops (only a single element of auxillia and psiloi were going to have to do a lot!) and this was to prove to be the case. I seriously missed having lots of auxillia. I got to attack a lot and most terrain was quite congested so my cavalry rarely got to use their mobility to full effect.

Game 1: 2-4 vs Hamish (II/ 37 Pathians).
What was I thinking- deploying my elephant and horde together across a wood from the general. Who set up that terrain? Oops, I did. Close though, I was furiously trying to backpedal vs the knights while trying to get my cavalry into action vs the LH on the other flank and nearly managed to pull back before my General and Cav chucked in the towel.

What was I thinking? Separating my general from the elephant + horde? Funnily enough I realised my mistake on my first turn.

Failure to kill the LH was costly- outflanked by knights? RUN!

Too slow! My general and a couple of cav just bit the dust. Looks like Parthia gets to keep its homeland this time round.

Game 2: 5-3 vs Andre (II/48 Methridatic).
His chariot looked dangerous so I charged it with my genral and 2 Cav and kill it. I managed to squeeze a knight through a gap (70% chance of me sdying accoridng to Andre... but they didn't) and exploit the gap. Once the battlelines were fractures my mobility helped, although nellie did fall prey to a genral + pike combo.

Only 1 photos but as you can see much more freewheeling. The knight is just getting through the gap and about to charge off in search of baggage! Didn't quite make it in time though.

Game 3: 4-4 loss to Gary (Middle Imperial Romans).
He defended and suckered me in with an a artillery piece in a BuA so I lined up 5 elements to deal with it- only for him to swap in blades- crap. i lost a horde before I could pull back the res tof my forces but that emant nellie could switch flanks and eventually crush the blade to death and captured the camp for some bonus points. Across the table were to woods full of auxillia. Eventually I charged, taking out the artillery piece in the gap but lost a cavalry element to an auxiliia before I could pull back. This allowed Gary the opening he was looking for and his knights, blades and auxillia came out, chopped up a horde and cavalry to take them game. Gary set up the perfect defensive position and I lacked bad going troops to deal with it. I could have played more defensively and for a draw but where is the fun in that? I got 2 extra points of capturing his camp.

How not to attack a BuA- the artillery piece is about to be swapped for a blade. Runaway!

The trap is sprung. the artillery had been between the two woods but I had managed to attack but could not quite pull back enough. An Auxilla in the wood was able to double my cavalry and then then lill a horde on my right flank to take the game. You can however see my LH and knight at the top of the picture awaiting enough pips to to to get behind the line.

Game 4: vs Tim 1-4 (Trojans)
What can I say Tim (another TAG player) always beats me! I missed a chance to close the door on his general after killing a cavalry early (by only rolling a 1 when 2 for pips would have done it). Tim quickly sealed off that opportunity and in the eventual mass combat he chopped up my hordes and a couple of Cav for the win. Talk about a game of if only. Twice I failed to kill an auxilia (once with the door closed and only needing a 2 to do it) and "Fearless Nellie" twice failed to kill a single spear with her quick kill ability. If only he'd done a littorial landing!

Early manoeuvrings vs Tim. I managed to kill the far left chariot but failed to capitalise to take out the then exposed general and then when the lines met and push came to shove his troops shoved harder!

Game 5: 3-5 vs Dave (Patrician Romans)
Another Timaru player- yep us Timaru players were in a dog fight for wooden spoon honours. Again a close game but in the end the dice went Dave's way. He closed down the battlefield by good terrain palcement and had lots of bad going troops. I managed to kill a couple of LH to open a gap but he also killed a couple of elements. It all went horribly wrong for me when he recoiled a knight element into the rear of one of my cavalry (which had just killed a LH the previous turn and was not trying to buttocks of death him!) and then his auxillia both doubled my hordes and killed them! Oh the humiliation!

Dave's favourtie terrain type? Crossroads!

This should be a doddle!

Lessons Learned?
1 Hordes: Going into the comp I was not sure how to use (or should that be where to hide) the horde or how effective they'd be- in the last couple of games I used them in the front line and they got cut to pieces. I really needed a couple of troops capable of going into bad going and these guys just weren't able to.

2. Horde + elephant- 3 of my elements took 2 pips to move and I knew this was going to cause problems at times. I tried to keeping them together and separating them but not really effectively. In future I'll have the elephant supported by horde on one flank and maybe keep one as a garrsion troop. Maybe a central anchor for my army to maneuver round? I tried that, it didn't work.

3. Cav + LH- paper tigers whose mobility was curtailed by terrain more often than not so couldn't exploit the movement enough. They'd be much more effective on 30" square boards.

4. Heavy hitters: Cav General, knight, elephant. My plan was to make 3 battle groups (2x cav + general, 2x Cav + kn, 1x Cav + elephant & possibly horde). On reflection, this failed miserably. In future I intend to make a single battlegroup of my heavy hitters (Gen-Kn- Ele) with each end of the line supported by 2 elements of cav (on behind the other to start) and try to win the battle in the centre.

Infantry: This is the area I posibly struggled most. 2x Hordes, Psiloi, Auxillia. I was never able to get the auxillia and psiloi operating closely together enough or was outnumbered by opposing bad going troops so they were unable to win the bad going battle. I will need to continue to work on this but the horde were a real liability anywhere near bad going so will keep them well away.

Overall- was a very different army to the auxillia heavy ones I have been favouring lately, and I have yet ot get to grips with it, but have a few more ideas to try and see if I can make it work better than it has so far. We'll see.

I am seriously tempted to give it another crack at TAGCON next month and am sure I can make them work a bit better than I did. However, I am considering the Alans as a knight + LH heavy version for that too as the Alans 2x blades are capable of going into bad going and more effective outside it- 4x knights & 2x blades backed up by 5x LH and a single psiloi is rather tempting...


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Numidian Roman Trained Infantry

My order from Warweb turned up today, including the last of my Numidians. Crusader miniatures Roman trained infantry, imitation legionnaires and some light horse + a prince for the command element.

So tonight's job was to paint up 3 stands of Roman trained infantry- which I will also use as the auxillia version of the list under DBA. So now I only have the command Cavalry stand to complete the army.

Note: If you compare this post to the earlier posts on the 28mm Numidians you'll notice that I've changed the basing- I've added some Woodlands Scenics turf (various shades I've mixed together- it includes fine and course turfs) and some clump foliage. I think the bases look far more effective.

I also received a couple of Old Glory Elephants and Libyan Spearmen for the Carthaginian army, so another project to carry on working on.