Sunday, February 26, 2017

More Ancient Spanish

Kent commented last game that he was forgetting which units were my light infantry units, or words to that effect, as I was using my medium infantry units to represent the light infantry and so they weren't always easy to distinguish. So the past few days I've been working on 4 stands of light infantry. To make them easier to tell apart from the medium infantry units I am only basing them with 6 figures per base and mainly using round shields to help them stand out a bit more on the table top.

Rebasing/finishing my Spanish medium cavalry
Also, I've rebased my Spanish medium cavalry (again). I wasn't happy with the look of the two ranks deep and wanted a more "dynamic" look. In the end I decided to go with 12cm x 10cm deep bases with 6 cavalry per base. So 2 fewer figures than I had been using by I like the dynamic look that this style basing gives. 

I've also just painted up the last 4 cavalry figures and completed the second cavalry unit. So a box of Victrix Spanish Medium cavalry will make 2x units for Hail Caesar. 

All these troops will be used in this weeks "must win" games vs the Carthaginians.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

HC Hispania Campaign: Battle #2

Kent and I had a great game last night which really went down to the wire. It was very evenly balanced and closely fought. I had the advantage for the first few turns but couldn’t quite capitalise on this (a couple of failed command rolls paralysing units in the middle turns when I really needed to take advantage of Kent’s disrupted centre command and had seen a major opportunity to destroy his centre. I used my new tactics (see below) to use my light infantry more effectively and this worked well and meant I was able to dictate the tempo in the early turns but in the end Kent’s large command on his right flank managed to grind their way through my larger command, get into flanking positions and finally turn the game and a Carthaginian victory. We both had our share of luck, I rolled really well for my hits most of the night and Kent’s dice abandoned him but  his rolls came right when he had to take break tests and this helped even things up a bit.

It was a good, close game. It could have gone either way but when I failed to destroy Kent’s Libyan heavy infantry on my right flank (curse passing those break test rolls when you are shaken and have been badly mauled), he was able to reorganise his command and then slowly ground his way through my troops and eventually emerged victorious.

Things Kent did well
1) Used his commanders effectively. Whether to reduce the number of hits on units or by throwing them into combat for a +1 dice Kent always maximises their use and it kept 2-3 units in the game and prevented at least one division from breaking. This is one area I still need to work on. 

2) Use of skirmishers. Kent used his skirmishers well, when I did create gaps in his line it meant that my infantry was unable to charge through to get flanking advantage as the skirmishers were screening/protecting the flank and forced my troops to go forward.
Note: Actually, this was a rules mistake on my behalf- checking up today I should have simply ignored the open order troops and charged into the open flank- but we were playing it that they couldn't be ignored. A mistake I only thought about after the game doh! Still, each week we are making fewer mistakes with the rules.

3) Changed his deployment: I am really enjoying Kent’s early moves which set up a battle line but then use the width of the table to prevent a simple line up and bash. In both of the last two games he has used terrain and changed up his deployment to try something new and they have both paid off for him and caught me by surprise a bit- which is a good thing and to me highlight one of the strengths of the rules. 

4) Kept his main combat units cohesive. He used his general’s to get shaken units back combat effective and also to prop up faltering units. There were two or three times I was on the verge of breaking commands but Kent managed to rally the troops enough for some breathing space.

My cunning plan: A change of Tactics
I had a good long think during the week about how to use my troops to best advantage and put a “cunning plan” into action. My strategy? Make maximum use of my javelin armed troops (skirmishers and light infantry) to pepper and disrupt Kent’s lines before engaging with my warband units.

The plan: Have my warband units screened by 2-3 units of Lusitanian light infantry and skirmishers. The light infantry only have 5 dice on clash/sustained but give +3 as support, by keeping them in open order I was able to minimise losses (harder to hit) but also screen my warbands.
The second stage of my plan was to keep the light infantry/skirmisher screens just in front of my heavier infantry so that when the Carthaginian troops charged my light infantry (deployed in open order) were simply able to evade back though my warband units and become support units.

This meant that invariably Kent’s charging units fell short so were left exposed to a counter-charge in my own turn by the warband units. As my light infantry were now safely behind my battle line they were able to add their weight as support units.

But even on the rare times that Kent’s troops did charge home my warband benefited from the +3 support dice from the light infantry directly behind them.

By using the above tactics my warband were able to get the charge in first for most of the battle and it was only on the last couple of turns that Kent was able to get some charges in and turn my line.

A few shots of the game: 

 Turn 1 the Carthaginians move to their left. 

The Celtaberians swing right to counter the Carthagian manouvre.

Turn 2 Cavalry clash.

Kent then throws his light cavalry against my remaining mdium cavalry, who become shaken.

 On the left the Celteberians throw the Carthaginians back.

Turn 6, the Carthaginians are starting to win the clash on the far right of the battlefield.

And a video report of the game:

Things to work on: Use of Medium Cavalry
Once again though our medium cavalry failed miserably on the first charge we both lost a medium cavalry unit- mine was only just beaten in combat but rolled badly on their break test (again) and legged it, then Kent’s did the same.

My remaining unit of medium cavalry was eventually shaken and made ineffective (though I did rally them at one point) and this is one troop I need to work on improving my tactical use of. Just because they can charge does not necessarily mean that they should and like the infantry should probably make better use of their short range missile (javelins) ability first to soften up targets and for charges vs shaken units- I must learn patience with them!

Campaign Result:
Kent won the battle so captured Aquitania granting him more treasury.

We rolled for our losses, I rolled badly and lost 4 units (2x warband, 1x med cavalry and 1x light infantry) and Kent lost one unit of medium cavalry.

Next week if Kent wins and captures Gallacia then he will have won the campaign so next week’s battle is a very important one...


Thursday, February 16, 2017

HC: Hispania Campaign- Game 1

Tonight Kent and I played the first game in our Hispania campaign. My Celteberian's launching an attack on Hispania Ulterior to try to capture the territory and so reduce the Carthaginian's income. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

HC- Cathaginian's vs Ancient Spanish- video version

Here is a video of last weeks game.

We did a few things wrong such as resolving Breakthrough charges in the same turn (too much Impetus) but don't think that would have had any bearing on the result, it simply shortened the game a tad. It was a comprehensive Carthaginian victory- or more accurately a total white wash!

Overall I'm happy with this as our first attempt at videoing our games


Friday, February 10, 2017

HC: Hispania Campaign Rules

During our game this week Kent suggested some sort of campaign would be fun so today have bashed together a very loose campaign structure for the next few battles.

Punic Wars Hispania Campaign 236-228 BC

After the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca crushed a mercenary revolt in Africa and trained a new army consisting of Numidians along with mercenaries and other infantry and in 236 BC, he led an expedition to Iberia where he hoped to gain a new empire for Carthage to compensate for the territories that had been lost in the recent conflicts with Rome and to serve as a base for vengeance against the Romans.

In eight years, by force of arms and diplomacy, he secured an extensive territory in Hispania, but his premature death in battle (228 BC) prevented him from completing the conquest.

The campaign is (extremely) loosely based around the timeline of Hamilcar’s expedition in Hispania.

Objective: To capture both opponents starting territories and so conquer/ control Hispania.

Any army may move freely between their own territories but may only enter one unoccupied/neutral/enemy controlled territory per turn.  

Each territory generates gold each year (see chart below)

Gold can be used to buy additional troops in the controlling players territory or to replace units destroyed in battle.

The Cost of each replacement unit as the same as the price of a unit in the Hail Caesar army lists.

Each player starts with 1x 400 point army. They can build a second army in their starting homelands, minimum size of a campaigning army is 200 points.

Home territory
Home territory
Gallia Transalpinia

Gallia Cisalpinia

Hispania Citerior



Hispania Ulterior
Home territory
Home territory

Income Tracker
Income Generated (Spanish)
Income Generated (Carthaginians)


235 BC








 Maximum number of field armies: 2

Max size of each army is 600 points.

Starting Armies: 400 points

Each turn is one year.

Turn Sequence
1.      Roll to see who will move first (Player A) on the campaign map.  
2.      Player A can spend gold to replace lost units (units points = gold spent) or build a new army.
3.      Player A can move their army/armies
4.      Player B then goes through steps 2-3
5.      Fight any battles: If two opposing armies are present in a territory a battle is fought. The winner captures the territory and can add the gold value of it to their income at the start of the next turn.
6.      Retreat: The loser of a battle must retreat to an adjacent territory- and a territory that is towards their original bases.

Spending Income:
1.      Replacing lost troops
2.      Building a new army

Battle Losses:
Armies recover losses in battles as follows:

Roll 1d6 to determine the result for each unit destroyed in the battle. The number below is the roll required on a D6 to recover the unit.
                              Winner                Loser
Regular troops     4-6                          5-6
Veterans:              3-6                          4-6
Elite*:                  2-6                          3-6
Elite includes: General’s bodyguard units, medium cavalry, elephants etc.

Home territories: (Galaecia, Aquitana, Hispania Ulterior and  Turdetania)
Each of these provinces has a garrison of 100 points of troops that are permanently stationed there. The troops cannot join field armies but can be added to a field army defending the territory should it be attacked (thus a 400 point field army would be 500 points when fighting a battle in its home territory).

The home garrison must be regular infantry types and can include skirmishers.

If the homeland territory is captured the garrison is disbanded and even if the territory is recaptured in future turns the garrison is not reformed.

Capturing both of your opponent’s home territories is an automatic victory.

Otherwise at the end of campaign the player with the most territories under their control wins.

If both players control the same amount of territories the game is a draw. 

And there we have it, its pretty simple but we will see if it works, starting next week.  

It would be pretty easy to grow it into a bigger campaign too by adding a third player with the Republican Romans...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

HC: Ancient Spanish vs Carthaginians

For tonight’s game I decided to try out my new Ancient Spanish force. I still need another 2-4 units of Scutarii so have reinforced the force with some Celteberian warband allies whilst I paint up the extra Scutarii units.

We have increased to 400 points, which in reality is only another two units but makes our divisions a bit stronger.

I decided to go for a strong centre and depending on how Kent deployed planned to refuse one or the other flank.

Left Wing
1x Light Cav
1x Med Cav
2x Med Warband
1x Skirmishers- javelins (Small units)

1x General's Scutarii Med Inf
3x Scutarii Med  Inf
2x Med Warband
1x Skirmishers

Right Wing
1x Light Cav
1x Med Cav
2x Med Warband
1x Skirmishers- javelins (Small units)
Kent ran his Carthaginians in 3 commands.

Left Wing
2x Light Cav
1x Med Cav
1x Gallic Warband

1x Veteran Libyan Heavy Inf
1x Libyan Heavy Inf
1x Spanish Scutarii Med Inf
1x Gallic Warband
2x Skirmishers

Right Wing
1x Veteran Libyan Heavy Inf
1x Libyan Heavy Inf
2x Italian Medium Infantry
1x  Elephant

Spanish left
 Spanish centre
 Carthaginian left
 Carthaginian centre
 Carthaginian right

 Turn 1: The Carthaginain centre advances.
 Kent throws the Carthaginian medium cavalry into a reckless turn 1 charge and they are destroyed. So far we've not had much luck with our medium cavalry.

 On my turn my medium cavalry charges the Gauls but retreats, disordering the units behind. We decided that disorder stays till the end of the next round.

 Turn 2: In the centre the Carthaginians crash into my Spanish Scutarii and Celteberian allies.

While on my right we avoid contact with the Carthaginians.

After several combats Kent absolutely destroys my centre-we made a bit of a mistake here and also ran the sweeping charge combats in the same turn.

My medium cavalry and Gauls turn to face the threat where the centre once was.

Kent wheels to face my units.

But on the right flank the Carthaginian's Gallic allies drive my own Celteberians from the field, crushing my second division.

Yikes a comprehensive Carthaginian victory. We made a few mistakes but they didn't really change the outcome. The Spanish were well and truly crushed!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Basing (again)

Am deciding whether or not I need to added some Autumn grasses to my new Arid terrain style bases, for a bit more interest.

With dry(ish) grasses added (okay, well just sprinkled on for effect at this stage):

 And without:

What do people think?


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Oamaru & Cape Wanbrow fortifications

10-15 years ago if you said you were going to Oamaru for a holiday they'd have locked you up. It was literally dying (had one of the fastest aging and fastest declining populations in the country) and was about as exciting a place to visit as, oh I don't know, Middlemarch! In the past decade or so the town has reinvented itself thanks to a forward thinking council and businesses making the most of its run down and dilapidated Victorian Precinct. In the past couple of years the  300km Alps2Ocean bike trail- from Aoraki/Mt Cook to the sea- has also added more tourists to the mix. Throw in some penguins and a few nutters right into steampunk, not to mention a chapter of Alf's imperial Army (the empire never died damn it!) who saved the town from the Green Republicans in the Battle of Oamaru  in 2000,  and these days you have a very cool, very quirky small town which Lonely Planet rates as the coolest small town in NZ. Not bad really for a small, conservative, dying, farming service centre.

Alf's Imperial Army is in itself probably worthy of its own post. Founded by the rather eccentric Wizard of Christchurch who used to host daily battles in Cathedral Square vs the Bible Lady in the 1980s it is one of those very silly inventions, along with the McGilligudy Serious Party, of a slightly deranged group of Antipodians who've had a touch of sunstroke and don't take themselves, or life, too seriously.

Anyway, back to Oamaru. Most of the heritage building in Oamaru's, now famous Victorian Precinct, are built on the local Oamaru limestone, the quarry for which is still in operation. In the 1880s the town boomed on the back of wool, sheep and the development of the frozen meat industry that allowed NZ to refrigerate meat and sell it to Britain- in fact the first meat for this industry was processed at Totara Estate near Oamaru then packed in ice and shipped to Port Chalmers  in Dunedin and on to Britain, thus creating one of our main industries.  Back then Oamaru was one of the country's richest towns. The boom busted and the town slowly stagnated during the latter part of the twentieth century, like much of rural NZ. Young people couldn't, and many still can't, wait to leave the place but these days it really is a cool little town. Its no Wanaka, Queenstown, Akaroa or Hanmer Springs and that is a good thing. Its a small town comfortable with, and celebrating, its rich Victorian heritage and putting itself on the tourism map without going overbaord like Queenstown has done and has a cool quirky vibe about it due to its eclectic bunch of locals.

Cape Wanbrow Coastal Defence Battery

Today my wife and I went for a walk around Cape Wanbrow, the headland that protects Oamaru from the southerly storms that surge up the east coast of the South Island. In 1942 a gun battery was built on the headland to protect the harbour from Japanese invasion. Though we've been coming to Oamaru for holidays for more than a decade and our bach is 10 minutes south of Oamaru at beautiful Kakanui, I've not found the time to explore the fortifications until now.

The fortifications are looked after by the Oamaru Coastal Defence Restoration Group who are also the local WWII reentactors group. They have a restored 25 pounder they take to various shows such as the Wanaka airshow. I met one of the younger members late last year who has built himself a working railway jig and is currently building himself a replica bofors gun- not bad considering he is still at high school! 

Anyway today we went and explored the fortifications above Oamaru. Until recently the hillside was covered in pines but these have been harvested in the past few years and the fortifications are once more clearly seen.

Observation post- this has a parapet above it.

From above. 
And from below.

A lookout post?

The main gun emplacement.

The emplacement housed a US Navy 5" 51 calibre Mk VII 1912 gun, with an effective range of 12000 yards and a crew of 13. 
 The field of fire.

 Anyway enough ramblings from me.


Friday, February 3, 2017

28mm Ancient Spanish

It's been another busy week working on my next army, Ancient Spanish. I got a couple of boxes of Victrix plastic Ancient Spanish infantry and cavalry and must say I am very impressed with them, great details, animated poses, easy to put together and a good price. What's not to like?

Light cavalry. I rebased my Crusader miniatures cavalry and changed their shields to the ones from Victrix and added LBMS transfers to them. I want my light cavalry units to look like they are passing across the enemy front lines, looks more dynamic on the table and easy to spot too.

 Spanish medium Cavalry. Victrix plastics. I've run out of LBMS transfers so are unfinished but still able to be used on the table.
 Command unit.

Scutarii and caetrati- all Victrix. I really like the dynamic poses, makes for great bases. Again LBMS transfers make all the difference.

This time two units of Crusader Miniatures Scutarii and Caetrati. I don't really like the figures so will be replacing with more Victrix.

Another shot of the Victrix infantry- I am putting 8 figures per 12cm x 6cm base.

I might give these guys a run next week vs Ken'ts Carthaginains.

I am aiming at:
Division 1: 
  • 1xMed Cav
  • 1x Light Cav
  • 2x Scutarii Med  Inf
  • 1x Skirmishers- javelins (Small units)

Division 2: 
  • 1x General's Scutarii Med Inf
  • 1x Scutarii Med  Inf
  • 2x Med Warband
  • 2x Skirmishers

Division 3: 
  • 3x Med Warband
  • 1x Light Cav
  • 1x Skirmishers- javelins (Small units)