Thursday, 22 November 2012

By The Sword Divided - Week 1

"To His Royal Highness; King Charles I,

Your servant Tiberius Flasheart (Lord) wishes to report an encounter with rebel forces in the heartland of Cheshire.  The enemy, led by that notorious cad Stapleton-Smyth, firstly tried to force a crossing across the bridge and fords in the village of Northwich.   My forces, greatly outnumbered, fought courageously, holding the village, preventing the rebels from crossing the bridge at the point of a pike, and even driving them back across one of the fords before being forced too retreat by the enemies superior numbers which had found further crossing places and threatened to outflank my men.

I successfully stalled the same cad and his lapdogs further south, blocking the road known as the A49 near the village of Tarporley before being compelled to retreat by heavy losses.  It is with sadness I must inform your majesty of the loss of the village and castle of Beeston following this engagement, however I would like to reassure him that I will not rest until the fortress is back in loyalist hands.  With my control of the road to Shrewsbury I will call for siege specialists and they will not last long. 

Your humble servant,


My Royalist forces, mostly consisting of pike blocks and shotte, foiled Aidans parliamentarian attempts to take the bridge and one of the fords in the village of Northwich.  However, his, much more mobile, forces had already outflanked me using the other ford to the north of the village, and my garrison of the village was only stalling for time before a probable defeat.  My troops moved with a sluggishness which was made more frustrating by the lack of powder for my musketeers which meant most of my troops were fairly useless by half-way through the game – my first order was a blunder, and perhaps that was a warning!   In the second game, on the outskirts of Tarporley Aidan’s troops once again attended to their orders with greater swiftness, advancing to meet me.  It was a pitched battle (I’d had enough of rivers) and I was bottled up in my own deployment zone and pressed in on both flanks before I could manoeuvre, with the battle well over before I finally struck my colours.  I think my army list could do with some work!
Whats next:  Lord Flashearts men managed to secure the southern part of the A49, but at the loss of Beeston Castle, and will be attempting to storm that bastion as soon as possible!

Brigadier Wolfe's horse (left of the bridge) unsuccessfully contest the bridge in Northwich while the  village is garrisoned by musketeers and dragoons.

Real mens fighting!  A push of pike across the bridge!  Sadly the rebels proved stronger with their supporting troops and Flasheart (seen behind Hopton's blue coated regiment) had to settle with holding the village end of the bridge.

More success further south as the King's Lifeguard in their red cloth push back  a number of rebel regiments to take the ford!

By The Sword Divided - An English Civil War Campaign

Lord Flashearts Opening Commentary:

1) Royalist damn your eyes, what other choice can their be?  Apart from those cursed rebel scum...

2) Not having the book I will assume there is a Royalist list?
3) Lord Flasheart will take command!  His full name is Lord Tiberius Derek Ramses Flasheart, and he is a cad of the first water.  He will happily take candy from a baby, change sides in the middle of a battle, and deliberately stay in a hostelry of dubious reputation and morals while his ‘allies’ fight his wars for him.  His hobbies include staying in hostelries of ill-repute, ‘conversing’ with ladies of low moral standings, and stamp collecting.  His aim is to be the richest and most powerful man in England – after the King, and perhaps Prince Wwupert, of course, and to launch his own brand of hair-care products.  He is allergic to lead shot and honesty – both cause him to come out in a rash.
4) Lord Flasheart hails from that stronghold of Royalist sympathies – Wrecsam!  In front of the biggest crowd every seen in that part of the world (3 rabid down and outs, a reporter for the Pig Monthly Gazette with a hat and feather fixation, and a dachshund named Colin) he has raised his standard and begun to bang his drum to raise troops to support his monarch!  He has subsequently been served with an ASBO for noise pollution.
5) Lord Flasheart is considered untrustworthy by even has closest, erm, ‘friends’.  However he cares not a jot for their opinions and has rolled his territories, coming up with the staggeringly pathetic total of two villages to add to his area of control.  He has claimed the nearby village of Holt (with its small castle), and that of Beeston (with its larger castle and central position in Cheshire). 
6) Mustering the troops - Curse your eyes sirs, did you not read point 2?  Scan that list in and email it to me post-haste so I may chose from my best men.  My mathematics says that I have 500pts to spend, and once I know what I can purchase for that I aim to create a solid body of foote, with my prize mortar – Roaring Meg – taking centre stage!  Flasheart will lead, with Sir Hugh of Beeston as his second in command.
7) Take the Field!  Seek out your enemies, destroy them in battle, take their territories and claim Victory! – This will be like giving giant chocolate buttons to the governor of Hull; easy!

And on the subject of what his army selection will be:
Damn your eyes sir!  Do you besmirch the mathematical reputation of Lord Flasheart?!? I will have you clapped in……oh……yes, I see what you mean.  No harm in a man trying though is there?
May I introduce - The Grand Army of Wrecsam:
General: Lord Flasheart presiding, CV8 (boring, what a pity).
Brigadier: Sir Hugh of Beeston.
Hopton’s Regiment of Foote: 1 pike block & 2 musket sleeves
The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Foote: 1 pike block & 2 musket sleeves
Stradlings Regiment of Foote: 1 pike block & 2 musket sleeves
Brigadier Wolfe’s Horse: 1 regiment of gallopers
Archibald Wrigglies Storming Party
Roaring Meg: 1 mortar battery

A grand total of 442 points spent.  Who in their right minds would garrison Altringham? Ghastly place.

By The Sword Divided - An English Civil War Campaign

Stolen with little regard for copywrite or the feelings of the enemy is the rules and opening narrative to the new English Civil  War campaign at the RGMB.

By the Sword Divided

An English Civil War Campaign

The opposing forces of the Royalists and Parliamentarians are preparing to leave their winter quarters and recommence their campaign: it is 1644, and England's fate hangs in the balance. As budding Generals it is up to you to further your factions cause, or fail in the attempt!

The Rules:
Each player picks which faction (Royalist, Parliament etc)  they will support and begins with a force selected from the army lists in Pike and Shotte, to a total of 250 points. There are some restrictions and compulsory choices:

  • You must include a General.  If he has a Random Command Value Roll this once at the start of the campaign, he retains it throughout.
  • You may include up to one Brigade Commander, but no more than one.
  • You may include up to one Artillery Unit, but no more than one.
  • You may not include any Dramatis Personae.

Each player than arranges and plays games against players of the opposing faction (or even the same faction if he feels like he can get away with it!) and attempts to capture as much territory as possible.  In particular the support of Towns and Villages that matters most, and victory will go to the faction or player that is able to secure the most such Territories for his cause!

Each Player starts with 3 Territories. One of these will be a town, the place your troops spent the winter and the location of your Headquarters. Pick an appropriate name from amongst towns known to be loyal to your cause. This is your capital, the place from which your campaign of conquest will be launched!
This town, also provides an extra 100 points to spend on available troops, as per the Territory Chart below.

Roll a D66 ( I.e a D6 representing the Tens and a D6 for the Ones!)  twice on the following table. You may reroll any duplicates, and reroll any results of Special Event for the moment: They will only come into play as battle start to be fought.

These two territories plus your Capital are your three starting Territories.

Capturing Territories:  Each time you play a game you and your opponent will  “stake” a Territory that you own on the outcome of the battle. When a victor is decided he must roll on the Territory chart again: he may pick either his opponents stake, or the new territory he has just rolled up, his defeated adversary gets what ever is left as a consolation prize!

Each time a Town or Village is rolled it must be Identified with a name: A Mappe will be kept displaying the current status of each Town and Village so far in play and new ones will be added as they are rolled up. Obviously if a player loses a town or village that he staked, it may well switch faction!
The winner of the campaign will be the player/faction that has more of the towns and villages on the Mappe marked as supporting their cause!

Some other Important Rules:
Limited Powder: At this stage of the war powder is in short supply: Each firearm equipped unit/cannon only has enough for 4 turns worth of shooting, including any shooting done in the opponents turn (closing/traversing fire for example). One these four turns of shooting have been made the unit is unable to shoot! Certain Territories may lift this restriction!

At various times during the Campaign a Special Event will occur.  This will be probably be a Bad Thing for at least one player if not all of them and is mainly designed so that everyone gets to laugh at somebody else’s misfortune! It will involve a roll on the appropriate table.

Occasionally the Rules will refer to a “Regiment of Foote”, where this does so it will refer to a unit of Pike and its associated units of Shotte, (the number of which will vary depending on the army!), so while I might refer to a “unit” and mean just that, “Regiment of Foote” may refer to up to 4 units, all of whom would be affected together.

Veteran: If a unit defeats in melee an enemy unit which subsequently “Breaks” as a result of a failed break test the unit gains a “veteran Bonus”  This takes the form of a reroll which may be used once and only once, to reroll the units “to hit” rolls for shooting or melee, or the units saves.  However if you elect to use the Reroll you must reroll all the dice in the group, even scores you’d rather keep and you must abide by the second set of results even if it is worse! 
The Veteran Bonus can only be used once, but a unit may have up to 3 of them available. For example a unit of Horse defeats two enemy units which both break: the Horse gains two veteran Bonus’s.  In its next game poor rolling results in a lot of failed saves, so the player chooses to use a Veteran Bonus to reroll the whole set. The bonus is used up and lost forever. The player has no recourse to use the second bonus during that game and saves it for his next battle!
If a unit that has won a Veteran Bonus ever “Breaks” for any reason any unused Bonus’s are lost forever!

The Territory Chart. Roll D66 to select a territory.

11 :  Special Event: Alert the Umpire as he must roll on the Special Event table, You may now roll on the Territory Chart again.
12- 20 :  Village:  Select a name for the Village and add it to the Mappe. Whilst you retain control of this Village it adds 50 points to your available Forces.
21-27: Town: Select a name for the Town and add it to the Mappe: Whilst you retain control of this town it adds 100 points to your available Forces.
28-31: Chapel/Church: Allows a Preacher or Priest to be added to one of your units of infantry: It gains the “Fanatic” Special Rule.
32: Agitator : Parliament only (Royalists reroll this result) An Agitator joins the ranks of one of your infantry units, select one at the beginning of each battle: 1-3 it Gains the “Untested” Special Rule, 4-6 it gains the “Ferocious Charge” Special Rule.
33-35: Road: Control of a good Road enables you to concentrate your forces quicker and supply them more easily: Whilst you retain control of a Road you may add +1 to the Dice to determine who gets first turn. If no dice would be rolled you may steal the 1st turn on a 6+!
36-42 :  Port:  Control of a port enable you to bring in good quality equipment from the continent, whilst you retain it each game you may nominate one Regiment of Foote/Artillery piece/other firearm equipped unit to have unlimited powder supplies, in which case the restriction on gunpowder is lifted.
43 :  Special Event: Alert the Umpire as he must roll on the Special Event table, You may now roll on the Territory Chart again.
44-46: Armoury: Allows an extra Artillery unit to be selected as part of your force.
47-49: Parade Ground: Control of this territory allows your troops to be better drilled, whilst you retain it one of your Regiments of Foote gains the “Superbly Drilled” Special Rule.
50-53 Experience: Your troops have survived the furnace of battle and learnt a few tricks: this territory lets you nominate a Regiment of Foot to gain the “Elite” Special Rule.
54-57 Gallantry: A Regiment of Horse has proved its worth: One unit of Horse may be nominated to gain the “Marauder” and “Tough Fighters” Special Rules.
58-61 Promotion:  This enables you to include an extra Brigade Commander in your Force.
61-62 Strategist: One of your Officers has been studying the histories of ancient generals or the drill books of modern warfare: Nominate one of your Brigade Commanders to add +1 to their Command Rating.
63 Inspired Tactics! Your General has moments of sheer tactical Genius: each game he may reroll one Order Test, but he must abide by the second roll!
64: Special Event: Alert the Umpire as he must roll on the Special Event table, You may now roll on the Territory Chart again.
65: The Great and the Good: Your Success has been noted and a one of the leaders of your faction has joined your force: you may include one Dramatis Personae in your force.
66: Spy Network: Control of a network of spires requires a lot resources but can be worth it: before each game roll a D6 on the Spy Chart.

Spy Chart: Roll a D6.
1) Counter Espionage  Your Spy is caught and the network unravels, the territory is lost!
2) Assassin: An attempt is made on the life of an enemy officer: Rolls D6: 1-2 Fails  3-6 The target is dead, or unable to take part: a subordinate takes his place but with a -1 modifier to his command rating.
3) Sabotage: A saboteur gets amongst the enemies horses in the night and hamstrings as many as possible before capture: Roll a D6 for each enemy mounted unit: on a 4+ it takes one stamina point.
4) Bribery: An enemy officer is in your pocket! Nominate an enemy unit at the beginning of the game: for the rest of the game it must roll a D6 at the start of each turn: on a 6 it is disordered.
5)Stolen Plans:  With access to your enemies plans and maps it is much easier to pick your ground! After set up but before deployment you may reposition any one piece of terrain. You may also pick your deployment zone in any case where you would normal dice for this.
6) Poisoned Wells!  The Spy manages to weaken and disrupt the enemy in one blow! Roll a D6 for each enemy unit at the beginning of the game after deployment: on a 6 its owning player must choose between the unit beginning the game disordered or taking a point of stamina!

Periodically a result on the Territory Chart,or boredom on behalf of the Umpire might result in one or more players being effected  by an Event.  The Umpire or a Representative of the Umpire will roll on this table. The result will effect all players unless he decides to allow players to elect democratically the target of Gods Wrath or simply pick a victim randomly.

1) “Bryng Out Yer Ded!” An outbreak of Plague has made some towns and villages no-go areas, and people are leaving urban areas in droves…this is making billeting and Recruitment a bit tricky. Each effected player rolls a D6 for each Town or Village they control: On a 4+ it is unable to provide you with any extra forces for your next two battles!
2) “Stande and Deliver!” An outbreak of Highwaymen in the area causes disruption to your communication system; messengers have been mugged, supplies stolen.  If one of your Territories is a Road you may not use its benefits for the next two battles, if you have a Spy Network it will be unavailable for the next battle. You will also be unable to use one of your available Brigade Commanders in your next battle as he is probably still blindfolded and tied to a tree somewhere…
3) “The Peasants Are Revolting!” The people of England are growing restless from the hardships of prolonged war and decide to declare independence! One Random town or village held by the effected player no longer provides him with additional forces: In each subsequent game the owning player may attempt to bring the town back under control: After deployment he may remove from the table one Regiment of Foote: this has been dispatched to re-establish law and order!  If you win the battle this regiment is considered to have succeeded and you regain the use of the town.
4)  “Put that Bloodee Lyght out!” A surreptitious smoke causes one of your powder magazines to be blown sky high, you immediately lose a random territory, and shortages mean that in your next battle you fight all your units with firearms/cannons are only able to conduct a maximum of 3 turns worth of shooting!
5) “Rat on a Stick,Rat Pies, get yor hot rat pies here, 2 for a shilling, Rat on a stick, only the finest rats used, tuppence each, what about you young sir, thy looks hungry…” times are getting hard and famine has struck; your troops must go further afield to forage: One of your Brigades must start off the table in reserve in your next battle: there is a -2 penalty to an order to bring the units of this brigade onto the table in the 1st turn, and a -1 penalty in the second.
6) “Storm Chaos Grips Ye Olde Englande!” Rain, Fog, Driving snow, High winds and hail, and all the other features of a typical English summer, conspire to quench your fire: in the next battle all shooting hits at no better than 6s regardless of modifiers.

Opening Gambits:  Now Of course you're all excited, can't wait to get started and your all wandering...what do I do now?  You need to go here and follow these instructions:

1) Declare your Support for the cause of your Choice!
2) Declare which Army List you will draw your forces from.
3) Take Command! Select your General: this is your tabletop representative.  Roll his Command Rating if appropriate. Select a name for him and declare it and his intentions, aims, hobbies and Interests, foibles and allergies to the world!
4) Raise your Standard! Declare which town support your faction and will be its base and Headquarters. 
5) Roll Your starting Territories: You may do this in another persons presence, or on your own if you think you can be trusted!  
6) Muster Your Troops! Collect, paint, and organise an army up to the total allowed by your starting territories, ( I.e 250 points, +100 for your Headquarters town, plus whatever else you rolled. Don’t forget to include your General etc in this total, and that there are other restrictions noted above).
7) Take the Field!  Seek out your enemies, destroy them in battle, take their territories and claim Victory!

So that's the beginning, well the start of it at least...btw I feel I aught to point out that I had no idea at all that "By the Sword Divided" was also the title of a BBC drama set during the ECW...that's just pure coincidence! The basic campaign system is shamelessly stolen from Rick Priestly and adapted to suit Pike and Shotte.
As soon as everyone responded to the Recruitment thread linked above we can start unfolding the story...


Beating the Drum...

Across the north west military leaders are declaring their support for King or Parliament, and mustering their forces...only a few have revealed themselves or stated their intentions so far and are reluctant to make a move until all the players are on the board.  

First to declare was that infamous watery cad Lord Flasheart (or Rick for short)! No , we weren't sure what a watery cad was either but thats how his auto-biography ( "Candy Theft and Philately; My Story", £2.50 from all good discount book stores) described him.  He raised his knockoff copy of the Royal Standard in Wrecsam, an event that went almost completely unnoticed, and would have gone entirely unrecorded if it weren't for the  Pig Market taking place on the same day, and was thus covered by a reporter from the Pig Monthly Gazette. 
    Skillfully dissuading the local fuzz from arresting him on charges of Inciting Violence, Lord Flasheart despatched his troops to claim to local strongholds, Holt and Beeston to ensure the use of their respective castles and the loyalty of the populace.  Their Royalist tendencies have obviously overridden their repulse at being under the control of such a dishonest scoundrel!  Perhaps it was the promise of complementary hair care products that swayed them...

Encouraged by the evident popularity of the Royals in the area a second Royalist was quick to make himself known: Lord Byron( AKA Red) began his campaign in Altrincham with a poetry recital of some of his latest work, which whilst reported as completely awful, was regarded as "the best night of entertainment in the history of Altrincham". Much was made of his endurance (3 days non stop) and his skill at rhyming such unlikely word pairs as "Orange" and "Wallpaper".  
      After winning over the local populace and gaining the support of the local troops, Richard, 2nd Baron of Byron took his show on the road, first to Hale and then on to Knutsford. He received a warm welcome in each and many have flocked to his banner, encouraged by his stated intention to support development of community arts projects. His first task as local Royalist commander was to run evening lessons on classical history.  Rumour has it the first to sign up was one Tiberius Derek Ramses Flasheart...

Eager to slow the march of Royalism over the country one plucky horticulturalist has declared for Parliament.  Captain-General Sir Samuel Stapleton-Smythe was elected as the local Parliamentarian representative after voting which resulted in a landslide victory, Sir Samuel being the only member of the electorate present, and therefore casting the only vote.  Support from his home town was virtually guaranteed after he had brought home the gold for Warrington in "Englande in Blume, 1638". It has to be added that there is no basis what so ever in the accusation that Sir Samuel "bought" his constituents support with the threat of gentrification with extreme prejudice.
     Stapleton-Smythe consolidated his position by marching on Wigan, and once his flag was flying there, workng parties and patrols from both towns ensured the A49  would remain open for the use of his forces. And though Sir Samuels Topiary skills far outweigh his tactical skills he is astute enough to realise that with Royalist forces to his South and East he is in a difficult situation, however it doesn't appear to have occurred to him that laying siege to his own garden shed is perhaps not an auspicious start to his campaign...

The map displays the current disposition of known forces, however this is certain to be incomplete.  But there are hints and rumours of more troops being mobilised in the area, and it is only a matter of time (we agreed on two weeks) before someone opens the ball...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ancients Battle Report - Romans Vs. Greeks

With one week to go before a probable English Civil War campaign we took the chance to field a couple of ancients armies and the Hail Caesar rules set.  Due to some fairly shocking traffic conditions both the Romans and the Greeks arrived late, however fortunately Roman-for-a-day Michael had already set up a battlefield so we were able to get going quite quickly.  Mindful of the disappointment of the legionaries doing not much last week I split them between the commands, with Michael taking the bulk (3 cohorts) along with some cavalry, artillery and the bulk of the slingers on the left-centre.  I took the right, and fielded a mixture of auxiliary and legionary cohorts.  

Initial setup, ghostly greeks on the left, red romans on the right.

The Battle:

The opening exchanges proved inconclusive, I advanced, Michael didn’t.  The hedgerows were clearly to blame, with the legionaries on the left unable to pass them.  Red quickly decided that Michaels troops were clearly going nowhere fast and abandoned them in favour of an all-out attack on my division in the hope of wiping them out.  I managed a coup however, cutting off the lead hoplite taxi and wiping it out by pinning it from the front with legionary cohorts and charging in from behind with cavalry while the rest of the greek column was reeling in disorder.

The heavy Greek attack on the Roman right commences, but theres trouble waiting in the form of the auxiliary cavalry.

The lead hoplite taxi is cut off and destroyed.

They didn’t stand still for long, and were soon back on the attack, driving the legionaries back across the hedgerows in disorder and revenging the hoplites by destroying the Roman auxiliary cavalry.  In the centre Michael had managed to catch up with the manoeuvring Greeks, with his cavalry damaging a unit of peltasts before an improbable break test (not the only one Red would pass on a double 6!) and some hoplites saved them and drove the horses from the field.  A cohort of legionaries finished the job on the peltasts, before the hoplites finished them off.  However the hoplites had advanced far enough for a counterattack by the rest of Michaels command, with another cohort of legionaries, supported by one of my auxiliary infantry cohorts, pinning them from the front before the 1st Cohort made good use of a follow me order to slam into their flank.  Under this pressure the hoplites collapsed.  As if in sympathy the hoplites taxi facing the remains of my legionaries on the Roman right also fell apart, and with time up, and 7 turns played, the Romans were the clear victors.

Michaels legionaries finally make it beyond the hedge, and the hoplites seize the opportunity to make them pay for such nerve.

However they have bitten off more than they can chew, and with the 1st cohort in their flank they succumb to the roman counter attack.


The Greeks decided early on to make a bold play to crush my division, assuming that Michael would be unable to get going.  However,  my success in cutting out and destroying a taxi, then stalling the rest meant the legionaries were able to catch up to the action and the hoplites were caught from the flanks, suffering their first (?) defeat.  As a side note I had intended to play a scenario, and had the beginnings of one in mind, however with the traffic putting us behind we just set up and played, and it worked out an entertaining game anyway.  Once more the greek hoplite taxi's were counted as large, and this evened it out and made them a formidable power to be feared!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Work In Progress....

Yes, another one.  Firstly the update to the painted/purchased numbers which I failed to do last time.

From 1/10/2012:
Painted: 0
Purchased: 40

And even worse for the purchased figures I have bought some models online from Redoubt Enterprises.  Only a few this time; some sheep and a couple of character figures to add some life to our 17th century battlefields.  If they are good enough quality then I might get a few more, there is a particularly good looking coach, some pack horses and a giblet!  In terms of funds to buy all these bits I had previously made £43 from selling bits at the club (an underwhelming total), but have my Battlefleet Gothic online on eBay, and remain hopeful that it will go for a few £'s.  So far I have spent £48, so I need the income to balance the books!

On the actual painting and modelling front I have finished the painting part of the 16 pikemen that make up Hopton's pike block, as well as the figure on horseback that represents Lord Flasheart himself, and I'm holding them back while I finish some more troops so I can do an en-mass Dip process.  I have also rebased/made an additional 40 musketeers, 24 of which are based in 4's so they can make up the numbers for my foote regiments musket sleeves from the current 8 men to the needed 12.  The rest are based individually to be broken into two lots of 8 men to represent two small dragoon units on foot.  They await sand on their bases, and spray painting.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Work In Progress........

The non-existent painted vs purchased ratio hasn't lasted long - I've gone and bought something.  I took a trip up to Brimstage with the aim of getting a few painted and some flock to make my Wars Of The Roses bits stand out, and by the time I had arrived I was pretty much decided to buy a Royalist infantry boxed set to enable me to finish off my Royalist shotte sleeves which needed some boosting to reach the new size of 12 men per sleeve.

There are 24 musketeers in the box, and I'm going to combine them with my renegade spares (who up to this point have been shamming around pretending to be a Forlorn Hope) to create 6 new bases of 4 men apiece. There is also 16 pikemen in the box, although what (if anything) I'm going to do with them I'm not sure.  Overall the price vs. getting more musketeers from elsewhere came out well so I went for them.

On a negative note I was disappointed at Brimstage.  I've been a number of times before and enjoyed having a look round and the atmosphere - indeed I could have bought what I picked up online and saved the petrol but took a run out with my wife and bio-titan/son for the enjoyment of shopping there.  Having been in a few seconds my wife was asked to not let my son touch the models in a not particularly subtle or pleasant way, and felt so uncomfortable that they left almost immediately to look elsewhere.  I stayed, found the bits I was after and went to pay for them, only to feel that I was actually a hassle for wanting to buy something when they were busy.  I was the only customer the whole time, wasn't spoken too while in the shop, and a 'goodbye' just about followed me as I was exiting.

Conclusion; having been there before I can only assume that the proprietor was having a stressful off-day, and wasn't their usual self, and they were busy unpacking deliveries.  However, having made the trip up (a fair distance from home) to leave feeling like that means I'll probably stick to online and elsewhere rather than travel up again.  This won't stop me buying stuff at wargamestore online if the price is right, and their variety of stock is brilliant.  But as a walk-in customer I'm staying away.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Work In Progress.....

Bit of a work in progress report; I've not actually finished anything, so we'll start with the total for the year:

From 1/10/2012:
Painted: 0
Purchased: 0

Instead the focus has been on several projects.
Firstly the Wars of the Roses troops, which I have made, based and spray painted three units of (two lots of 12 archers and one lot of 12 billmen).  I have some more troops for this period, but they are waiting for me to acquire more men to enable me to make full units.  I have also got to finalise my colour scheme for the army.
The second project is the continuation of my Royalists, and I am currently working on the paint job of the 16 pikemen in Hopton's regiment, and Lord Flasheart himself.  It will be a while until anything can be declared finished because I want to do a fair number of troops before going to the trouble of getting the Dip out for them.  There is also the prospect of another English Civil War campaign at the RGMB, and I have dropped far behind Red, Aidan and Michael in terms of troop numbers and paint job!
Thirdly and finally I have decided to sell a fair few models to fund further purchases, including two Epic 40k armies, my Battlefleet Gothic and some 40k pieces.  Having taken the lot down to the club last night I only managed to make a paltry £43, not enough to even fund the WOTR at the moment.  eBay beckons!

Ancients Battle - Romans Vs. Greeks

With the Greeks numbers seemingly depleted by the reduction of their hoplites from eight 16 man units to four 32 man units - to match the width of their opponents, and to give the proper depth of the phalanx formation they 8 men wide by 4 deep – the Romans appeared to have an advantage in numbers of units and fighting power, even with (my) suggestion that the Hoplite Taxis be considered as ‘large’.

The Plan:
The Greeks split into two halves, with Red and Chris Fazey each taking two Taxis, a peltast light infantry unit, and a few light skirmishing units.  Opposing them I took command of the legionaries – 8 cohorts, the light artillery and some slingers – while Rob controlled the auxiliaries and the general.  Our plan, knowing the power of the Hoplites when attacked from the front, was to suck them into the legionary line, which would hold them while the auxiliaries flanked them and then caused them to collapse. 

The Battle:
The auxiliaries did well, eventually driving a Hoplite taxi from the table, as well as a peltast unit and a unit of skirmishers for the loss of a slinger unit and a squadron of cavalry.  However, the legionaries (my lot) forgot what it was they were supposed to be doing, and spent rather a long time standing in the middle of the battlefield looking pretty.  It got silly so the Greeks came and attacked them.  Chris Fazey, having firstly outflanked the legionary formation with his skirmishers, then drove in their line with his hoplites, wiping out the first cohort, then moving on to driving a second from the field (by literally pushing it off our own board edge.  His peltasts got in on the act with firstly their fearsome (?) combat ability seeing them survive a legionary cohort charge, then their javelins broke the cohort in return. 

The Roman general (Rob), busy having success with his auxiliaries, turned to find the legionary division was broken and rapidly retreating, leaving him alone, and he sensibly joined the strategic withdrawal – victory to the Greeks!

Initial setup - Ghostly Greeks to the right.

The legionary centre.

The legionary centre being driven in.

The remains of the legionaries abandon the auxiliaries at their finest moment.

Post game analysis:
The sides were fairly even, with the Greeks fielding more skirmishers, but fewer formed up units.  However, their hoplites were large enough to counter-balance the numbers, and the legionaries – the toughest Roman troops – were caught spread out and pushed apart too quickly to reform and support each other.  The Roman plan of outflanking the hoplite line eventually worked, but the Greeks had done the same to the legionaries.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ricks Big(ish) Sale!

I’ve come to the conclusion that firstly I need to sell to be able to buy more models, and secondly that I’m simply not using a lot of my collection, and haven’t used much of it in over 3 years!  As such I’m selling a fair bit, including Chaos Space Marines and Imperial Guard for 40k, and Battlefleet Gothic and Epic 40k for smaller scales.  I might get onto the warhammer bits another time.  I’ve included a list of the its below, email me if you’ve questions/offers, I’ve stuck a few pictures of some of the bits towards the bottom, but can take closer shots or bring them to the club on a Tuesday.  I’m hoping someone can find a good use for them before I have to resort to Ebay.

The List:

Chaos Space Marines (classic models - painted):
Abaddon the despoiler
Chaos marine with heavy bolter
Chaos marine with meltagun
Chaos marine with flamer
10 chaos marines with bolters
1 chaos marine with power claw and bolter
1 chaos marine with powerfist and chainsword
8 chaos marines with allsorted close combat weaponry, primarily boltpistols and chainswords
8 terminators (various weaponry including one reaper autocannon and a heavy flamer
Chaos lord in terminator armour with poweraxe and meltagun 

Imperial Guard:
Valkyrie – new in box!
2 x Baslisk, one painted, one undercoated
2 Leman Russ
1 Hellhound
5 Ogryns (converted by a better hand than I from Ogres)
10 ratling snipers
3 mordian iron guard lascannon teams (classics)
2 Classic metal Cadian squads – painted, flamer and sergeant in each
2 plastic catachan squads – one painted, flamer and sergeant in each
Classic metal cadian mortar team

Epic 40k:
Imperator Titan
2 x Reaver Titans
2 x warhound scout titans
6 x Baslisks
2 x manticores
3 x hydra AA guns
12 x Leman Russ battle tanks
3 x baneblades
1 x Leviathan
3 x Thunderbolt fighters
3 Ratling bases
3 Ogryn bases
6 Rough rider bases
13 cadian bases
12 heavy weapon bases
8 other assorted infantry bases
Load of scenery
Rules set – original Epic 40k including markers etc

Bag of classic goffs and gretchin.

Battlefleet Gothic (Imperial bits painted):
Book & markers (the game essentially, but without the shiny box)
4 Imperial battlecruisers
1 Dauntless light cruiser
4 Sword frigates
4 Cobra destroyers
Assorted ork ships

Pike & Shotte Battle Report

A short battle report on a pitched battle between the forces of Parliament (Aidan and a new recruit Pav presiding), against a combination of Swedish and Royalist troops (Michael and myself).  In terms of forces Michaels army has certainly grown since last years campaign, and is surely now the biggest and most powerful, with the Swedish troops the best equipped and trained.  They balanced Aidans numbers, and I split my army between the 2 sides to even it up.  I took Michaels side and the right flank with two brigades; one foote and one horse, facing Pav in his first game who had two foote brigades.  Aidan and Michael, or Essex and Gustavus respectively, controlled the centre and other flank. 

The battlefield unfortunately was quite boxed in, with a village on one flank and a farm with plenty of hedgerows on the other.  This meant that the bulk of the cavalry forces were deployed centrally, with infantry slogging through the buildings/hedgerows on the flanks.  The Swedish left flank, crushed inwards by the village, saw some light fighting as the buildings were contested by musketeers, while Parlimentarian foote managed to outflank the village to the far left before the end, although the Swedes had pulled back.  The right flank saw bitter fighting between groups of musketeers amongst the hedgerows and around the farm buildings.  My troops, the Royalists, were first into the farm, but consistent command failings meant that they were unsupported while Pav’s troops were more numerous.  They took surprisingly little time to oust the Royalists from the buildings (lessons learned in house-to-house fighting for sure!) and lined the hedgerows, catching a number of the Royalist musketeer groups in a nasty crossfire.  It wasn’t until the final turn when my command rolls came good that I was able to throw more troops in to balance the situation and it ended very even.

In the centre the battle was decided as Aidan (or Essex and Cromwell!) lead their horse brigades, and in Essex’s case his personal bodyguard of cuirassiers, into the attack on the Swedish foote.  This proved, however, foolish, and first one brigade, and then a bigger second bounced off the Swedes, in the second case almost an entire brigade vanished in a rash of breaktests as the power of the Swedes hedgehog formation came to the fore!  Some infantry clashes to the right of this main fight couldn’t disguise the loss of two cavalry brigades, and with time up a Swedish/Royalist victory was declared on the basis of these losses.

Initial setup

Early clashes on the right.

Royalist re-enforcements on the right.

The great Parlimentarian charge in the centre. 
Blurred fighting by the village.

This time round we learnt that buildings are not impossible to assault, far from it.  That horsemen cannot reliable break a hedgehog, regardless of their numbers.  That neither me or Pav can pass command rolls.  That Aidan, having committed the same shocking error of putting a village/massive obstacle on each flank AGAIN should not be allowed to define where the scenery should be.  Finally the suggestion that in pitched battles we have a gentlemans agreement to deploy foote and artillery in the centre, and horse on the flanks, because horse vs foote is no contest!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Average Joes - The Rats Rise Again - Part 6

Average Joes Vs. Lakhti Longships

Quarter final time, and once again Average Joes have fallen foul of the knockout stages.  With ‘Joes starting the game by kicking to Lakhti Longships the first half was characterised by two touchdowns and two injuries.  Firstly a linerat was able to breach the Norse defence and knock the ball from their player into the skaven section of the crowd, who promptly threw it over the head of The Rat for it to run onto and open the scoring.  Then storm vermin and ‘Joes team captain La Fleur was injured by a furry thing with legs and claws, before Benedict; the skaven rat ogre, took revenge on the furry thing to leave the injury box score at 1-1.  There was time for the Norse to wriggle free and score an equalising touchdown, and this triggered an unhelpful riot in the stands which ended the half to the disadvantage of the skaven.  Overall, however, the first half, in front of 10,000 ratty fans and 9,000 bearded norse men and women, had gone mostly to plan.

The second half was unremarkable for the first third, with ‘Joes thrower Murdock holding onto the ball in the hope of finding enough space for a pass to set a gutter runner away.  However, the pass never came, as Murdock tripped while dodging a tackle, releasing the ball which fortuitously bounced into the arms of the Norse’s top scorer.  At that moment the whole game turned as ‘Joes lost two more players to serious injuries (both gutter runners, including The Rat, leaving none on the pitch), and 3 to the knockout box including Benedict who fell foul of a lucky hit from the snow beast.  With just six players on the pitch, and not many skills between them, the remaining skaven worked hard to try and force the ball either out, or at worst case over their own line so they could try and keep in the game.  However, it wasn’t too be, luck had truly deserted them, and the opposition played a cunning game of holding the ball up until the last moment before making it 2-1 with seconds remaining.  Average Joes were out.

In the post match interview Lord Flasheart admitted he might have approached the game with too much confidence, and felt he had made a number of poor tactic decisions.  The Norse now go on to play Paddy’s Norse in the semi-finals, while Average Joes go back into semi-retirement once more.

Ancients Battle Report - Romans Vs. Romano-Brits

In the absence of the Greeks (off buffing their shields probably) my Romans turned upon their erstwhile allies the Romano-Brits (or Brits for short).  Their commander; Aidan, or King Arthur as he is now styling himself, devised a decent scenario where the Brits, having raided and pillaged to  their hearts content were now heading home, with the only thing between them and success in this venture being a river (with at least 2 crossing points) and a small contingent of roman cavalry and slingers.  The bulk of the Romans – mostly legionary cohorts – were due to start arriving from turn 2 somewhere off to the Brits flanks having chased them for a bit.  The implications were clear; if the legionaries caught up and a straight fight ensued then it would probably go badly for the Brits, so they needed to force the crossing and get away swiftly!  Being Hail Caesar a blow by blow account isn’t easy, so the summery will have to do.

Battle 1:
The Brit infantry, boosted in numbers by some defecting Roman auxiliary, took the direct route towards the crossings and the cavalry waiting there.  Their own heavier cavalry covered their more exposed right flank, or at least it did until a particularly spectacular blunder saw the order of “charge that cavalry by the river!” replaced by “retreat!”, 2 moves backwards!  This stalled the Brits attack, and a unit of Roman cavalry tried to take advantage by charging into the front of the rebel auxiliary, supported by the slingers.  This was only partly successful, with the arrival of the rest of the Brits infantry driving off the horsemen, but the 2 rebel auxiliary cohorts played no further meaningful part in the battle apart from fleeing under missile fire later.

Main British infantry division.
The Brits horse had no chance to rejoin the attack as the Roman legionary cohorts began arriving on the flanks, and they turned and charged home into a (foolishly) unsupported cohort at the head of the attack.  The legionaries fled and were cut down, leaving another two cohorts to pick up the responsibility of trying to give the Brits heavy horse a bloody nose.  This they succeeded in doing, grinding one unit down until it vanished and pushing back and pursuing the other.

The Brits become boxed in by legionaries to the left, and auxiliary horse by the river.
In the centre the 1st cohort of legionaries (large in size) faced off against the largest British unit as the British became boxed in by Roman troops.  Both had supporting troops, and in the end the Romans training and heavy status told, with the Brits trying to retreat and being destroyed due to the skirmishing slingers that had worked their way around behind them.  A brief hurrah for the Brits followed as their remaining heavy cavalry unit bashed into the flank of the 1st Cohort, adding to its damaged already received and sending it packing.  The combined efforts of the Roman auxillary horse and a cohort of legionaries was enough to see off this rally, and the last two Brit infantry units surrendered in an untenable position.

The Brits cavalry is finally defeated and the remaining infantry can't see a way out and surrenders.

Battle 2:
With an hour and a half left we decided to go again, with a scenario quickly thought up by me – a Roman Legionary column being attacked from the flanks by the Brits, with the auxiliary troops (horse and foot) arriving later on to try and save the day.  This was very much a one sided affair; the British cavalry striking hard and fast into the centre of the line of Roman infantry, destroying 2 of the 5 cohorts immediately, before turning outwards and charging into the rest.  The rear of the column had managed to form line before the impact, but the 1st Cohort at the front failed too and was harried from the battlefield, unable to change formation or turn to fight.  The auxiliary arrived just too late to save the day, with all of the legionary cohorts wiped out, and put in a counter attack across the river, only for lady luck to abandon them and they were driven back, abandoning the effort.  

The Roman column.

The column hit from the left by British horse, and with Brits infantry coming in from the right.

When the numbers are even the Roman heavy infantry have the edge over the Brits medium infantry, however, good use of scenarios can prevent this from happening and make for a much more interesting game.  The first game was a good example of this, with Aidan foiled by his dice rather than the auxiliary, and a frantic bit of fighting ensuing when the Roman legionaries arrived to box in the enemy.  In other thoughts the Brits cavalry are more powerful than the Roman – heavy to my own preference to making my auxiliary horse only medium – which gave them an edge to going one on one with the legionaries, while mine lacked that extra bit of power to hit from the front.  Finally it was an all-painted army game!