Thursday, 20 December 2007

Random Rambling

It's been a while since I did any significant painting as I've been fairly preoccupied with re-furbishing our somewhat dilapidated bathroom. However, that's complete enough to be useable (only the tiling and some sealing to go) and the holiday season is almost upon us so I'm trying to find the time to get painting once again.

Exactly how much painting I'll get done, given that our Christmas schedule is looking rather busy, I do not know. I suppose I should just keep my paints and figures handy and try to grab the odd half hour whenever I can. I reckon that painting whilst partying with friends might be considered rude ... particularly if it's at their house ;-)

I'm looking at finishing off the last few Romans for the first unit of my Early Imperial Roman army, a unit of 12 Auxilary Archers. Fairly easy to paint so good for getting back in to practice. After that I'll continue with the Bretonnian Questing Knights that I started ages back. Need to get that unit finished in time for the Warclouds over Woolston doubles event in early February. Thinking of entering alongside my good lady wife as she has a (fully painted) Dwarf army. I think the armies would make a good combo ... solid infantry, good artillery, extra dispel dice allied with some of the best cavalry available in the Warhammer World. The event requires each player to provide 1,200pts of troops so in effect it's a 2.4k game. The points limit per army means that there'll be no 'Lord' level characters so hopefully rather less 'herohammer' and more 'warhammer'.

Bought some more Foundry paints yesterday! Couldn't resist after seeing the email flyer showing many packs reduced to just a fiver. That puts it on a price par with GW paint which only comes in 12ml pots instead of 20ml, plus GW paint generally isn't as good. To save a few sheckles on postage it's being sent to Grandma as she's due to visit in January. She's also bringing out the rest of my Black Tree Design Romans and Celts. Should have almost 1,000pts of troops by then.

What with starting to plan our visit to the UK and France (Normandy) next year I've found myself drawn once again in to researching a bit more about WWII. Of course this has meant that I've been thinking about how I'd possibly like to play WWII wargames ... oh dear more figures for the lead mountain! Luckily my wife applied several sharp blows to the side of my head and I quickly saw (her) sense ... ? It would have to be 28mm scale skirmish as I don't enjoy painting any other scales. Tried Flames of War (15mm) last year but those tiny figures "did my head in". Also, no-one round here plays 28mm WWII, I have no proper rules so must either buy them or write my own, nor do I have much scenery suitable for WWII other than trees, hills and woods. So apart from no figures, no opponents, no rules and no specific scenery ... hmmm.

Really I need to stick to finishing off my WFB Bretonnians and then getting on with my WAB Romans ... so that's the plan!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

WFB - 16th December 2007 - Bretonnians vs Orcs

Another Sunday morning and off to Christchurch Wargaming Club for a game against Mike's Orc & Goblin horde. Now the last time I played against Mike's greenskins (ages ago now) it was a total disaster for the Bretonnians. Mike had first turn and his bolt throwers tore in to two units of knights who both fled off the table taking my General, BSB, wizard with them - about 900+ points in total. So things were decided by the end of turn 3.

Determined that I would be victorious this time (or at least do rather better) I had the following list.

Lord + Level 1 Damsel + 7 Knights of the Realm
Paladin + Level 1 Damsel + 7 Knights Errant
Paladin + 8 Questing Knights
3 Pegasus Knights
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen
5 Mounted Yeomen
5 Mounted Yeomen

Not too much in the way of magic items as I tend to forget to use them.


Mike fielded (approx)

5 x 25 Orcs incl Warboss, BSB and a Goblin Shaman
4 x 20 Night Goblins incl 2 fanatics
1 large Squig Herd
2 Stone Throwers

No black orcs, boar riders or trolls was a surprise. By the way ... Mike's army is largely made up of wonderful old GW figures from the Kev Adams 80's and early 90's. Some of my favourite old figures!

The game began well for the Orcs & Goblins. Fairly few animosity problems and the stone throwers (apart from the very first turn) did extremely well, punishing my knights as they were held up by fanatics. By the end of turn 3 I was feeling quite demoralised. Every dice roll seemed to go against me and Mike just couldn't put a foot wrong. Being a decent sort of chap he seemed a bit embarrassed about it all.

Determined to give the Orcs a bloody nose before they slaughtered what remained of my army I soldiered on. The next three turns were absolutely crazy with the game swinging back and forth in favour of one army then the other with amazing rapidity. It became quite stressful actually!

In the end I scored a victory but I must admit that it was nothing to do with tactical skill. It was all due to crazy dice rolls on both sides of the table. Still ... I suppose we all have these odd sort of games occasionally.

A good point from this game was that I actually managed to use my Pegasus Knights correctly. They began by taking out the stone throwers in turn 3, then helped out with combats later on. Still made a hash of my light cavalry and dithered too long with my heavy cavalry in the face of goblin fanatics.

What a crazy game!

Monday, 17 December 2007

WFB - 30th November 2007

One sunny Sunday morning I trolled along to the Christchurch Wargames Club at Woolston to play Ray and his Chaos Dwarf horde. The game was a 2,000pt Pitched Battle and for some reason I was feeling quite confident. Possibly as a result of my WAB game against Darren's Saxons?

I was really looking forward to the game. Ray's a nice guy and in spite of being here for more than 2 years it was my first game against him. It was also my first game against Chaos Dwarfs since the mid 90's. I'd seen Ray's army on previous visits to the club and it looks great! A nice mix of old GW and other manufacturers, nicely painted and with some fantastic conversions.

Anyway, you might notice it's taken a while to get around to posting about this game ... possibly because my trusty Bretonnians got a complete and utter drubbing!

I won't go in to too much detail about what happened but suffice to say that my cavalry attack was completely stalled by the Earth Shaker cannon parked on Ray's left flank. His solid infantry arrayed around it to ensure that no enemy could get near it. So, with most of my cavalry moving no faster than most infantry, my attack became disorganised, some pursuits left my units in very awkward positions, etc, etc. Very few Chaos Dwarfs fell to my lances or bows and by the end of six turns they had scored a massive victory.

Whilst it was a bit embarrassing, the game was a good laugh and provided me with much to think about. Primarily, that I should try not to play like a complete wally!

Lessons learned were:

Composition
- Take some flyers such as Pegasus Knights. They would probably have tackled his artillery on turn 2 or 3.
- Don't bother with too many bowmen (Str 3 longbow) against a Toughness 4 army with lots of armour.

Deployment
- Don't bunch up the cavalry attack if facing an Earth Shaker, spread potential targets across the battle front.

Tactics
- Use my light cavalry more effectively to stop similar enemy units distracting the heavy cavalry.
- Ensure the main assault on enemy lines is done in a concerted fashion.


Must ... try ... harder!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Bretonnians

Here's a few pics of figures from my Bretonnian Army.

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Knight Errant Champion

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Knight of the Realm Champion

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Knights Errant (hence no heraldic blazons)

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Mounted Yeomen

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Skirmishing Bowmen

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Skirmishing Bowmen

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Skirmishing Bowman Hornblower

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Skirmishing Bowmen

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Skirmishing Bowmen

Romans

Here's some pics of my (not so) recently completed Romans. My first attempt at the Foundry 3 colour system and I'm quite pleased with the results.

The figures are all Black Tree Design.

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Auxiliary Archer (front)

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Auxiliary Archer (back)

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Auxiliary Soldier (front) The shield will be painted when I have some suitable transfers.

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Auxiliary Soldier (back)

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Legionary Ballista Crewman (front)

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Legionary Ballista Crewman (front)

Random Pictures

Here's a few pics of some of the figures in my collection painted during the last few years. Enjoy!

(sorry if some are too wide for the blog)

I occasionally play some Napoleonic Skirmish, so here's some of the figures.

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Foundry Voltigeur Officer

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Foundry and Front Rank Voltigeurs. The figure on the right has yet to be finished (e.g. cuffs and collars) but is good enough to put on the tabletop for now.

I'm a big fan of Lord of the Rings - the book, the films and of course the miniatures.

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Mordor Troll

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Boromir and Aragorn

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Legolas and Gimli

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Frodo and Sam

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Frodo and Sam - quite pleased with those cloaks.

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Merry and Pippin

Mostly I play Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Here are some Bretonnian Bowmen.

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Musician and Champion

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Bowman

Jim's Napoleonic Officers

My good friend Jimbo (a.k.a. "The Iron Duke") has turned 40. To celebrate this historic moment I painted up some Wargames Foundry British officers to make a "command token" for his army.

Forward the 95th!
(click for larger picture)

I'm guessing that most rulesets will require a group of figures to represent the General, his staff, etc. Hopefully this will serve as a springboard for Jim's Peninsular British army! Get some Foundry paints and get painting those redcoats mate!

Now where did I put my Crapauds ... ?

No More Painting Blog

Since I do not do that much painting I've decided to combine my gaming and painting blog in to one blog. It's just more manageable really.

But in order to keep some of my hard work on view, I'll be copying some of the more interesting posts across. Apologies if you've seen them before, otherwise enjoy!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

WAB - 28th October 2007

My second game of WAB at the Woolston Club ... and what a belter!

Same opponent (Darren) and armies (HYW English vs Early Saxons) as last time, but this time I was a little more prepared having given the matter some considerable thought.

From my last game I learned a number of important lessons.
- take more archers
- don't deploy them at the front of my deployment zone
- use the heavy cavalry more effectively
- figure out a way of driving off those pesky skirmishers protecting the enemy formed units from archery.

So this time may army was as follows

Noble + 9 Mounted Knights LSM
Noble ASB + 17 Spearmen with heavy armour LSM
18 Spearmen with heavy armour LSM
10 Archers
10 Archers
10 Archers
10 Archers
10 Archers
5 Hobilars
5 Hobilars

The plan was to deploy the archers across the centre of the table (back from the front of the zone) with the Knights in the middle and Spearmen behind the archers to either side. The Hobilars were placed on each flank to take on units of skirmishers. That was how I deployed.

The archers were great most of the time. The Hobilars performed well, with one unit tying up Darren's formidable Saxon skirmishing cavalry for much of the game. Having driven off most of the skirmishers they rode near the main Saxon units preventing them from marching and allowing my archers a little longer to soften them up.

The Saxon general was bravely leading a unit of what Darren described as 'angry farmers', they were only WS 2 anyway. He advanced his men directly towards my heavy cavalry in the centre of the field. Sounding the charge they thundered towards their foe, lances at the ready ... can you guess what happened next ... oh the embarrassment of it all! The flower of English chivalry were (narrowly) defeated by a bunch of Saxon farmers. But that was not all. Defeated by one point they had to make a break test on a 7 with a re-roll for the nearby ASB. First roll was '5' and '4' ... second roll '4' and '5' Aaaaaagh! They ran for it, taking the other unit of spears with them. Next turn - did they rally, of course not and off the table they went! Luckily the spears rallied.

Throughout all this farce the archers kept the skies dark with arrows inflicting a terrible toll on the lightly armoured Saxons. In the final turn of the game the combined efforts of one unit of Spearmen and the Hobilars routed the Saxon general's unit and the field belonged to the (HYW) English.

So my second game of WAB and my first victory!

It was a close game throughout, decided only in the final turn, with plenty of funny moments too. As I've said before, Darren is a brilliant guy to play against. A good fun game all round.

Interestingly it may have been this game which helped one of the other club guys, Clinton, to finally jump on the WAB wagon. Welcome aboard mate!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Nerd Greatness

A colleague (also a software engineer) sent me the link

http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nq.php

Here are my scores

I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

and

NerdTests.com says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

So, I'm a "Kinda Dorky Nerd King"

My good lady wife scored

I am nerdier than 46% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!



What about you?

WFB - 13th Oct 2007 - Dwarfs vs Bretonnians

It's been a while since Jennifer and I played a game of Warhammer, so she dusted off her copy of the Dwarf army book and put together a 1,500pt list as follows.

Dwarf Army
Thane
17 Dwarf Longbeards
Thane - Battle Standard
17 Dwarf Warriors
18 Dwarf Warriors
Dragon Slayer
17 Trollslayers
8 Thunderers (handguns)
8 Crossbows
2 Bolt Throwers (each with an engineer)
1 Cannon

Bretonnians
My force was quite similar to the army that vanquished Dave's Orc horde just days earlier

Paladin (Questing Virtue)
8 Questing Knights
Paladin BSB
5 Knights of the Realm
Paladin
5 Knights of the Realm
6 Knights Errant
6 Knights Errant
5 Mounted Yeomen
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen - Skirmishers

Both armies chose few magic or runic items as they always seem to get forgotten.

The Battlefield
Alas, I forgot to take a picture but in honour of the occasion I got out my (rather large) coaching inn and placed in the centre of the table - and very impressive it looked too. The rest of the table was scattered with a few hills, woods and more buildings on the flanks. It looked splendidly scenic - trust me.

Since I'd set up the table I gave choice of sides to Jen. Not surprisingly she chose the side that would afford her missile troops the best view of the approaching enemy cavalry.

The Battle
As is typical of most games I had to forgo the first turn in order to gain the blessing of the Lady. The Dwarfs stood firm and unleashed a hail of crossbow bolts, bullets, spears and cannon shot, but not a single Bretonnian was slain ... charge!

The entire Bretonnian army moved forward, even my "trusty" peasant bowmen who I had rather stupidly deployed just beyond the 30" range of their longbows. This would leave my army dreadfully exposed for the next turn, but there was nothing for it if I was to close for combat quickly.

The Dwarf heavy infantry moved forward slightly to close down my choices for charging next turn, but the missile troops stood firm and once again hurled everything at the rapidly approaching cavalry. This time a number of shots found their mark and several brave knights fell, but (amazingly) no panic tests were failed.

Due to the clever manoeuvre of the Dwarf heavy infantry I had to charge two Dwarf units (Slayers and the Warriors with the BSB) with three cavalry units (Knights Errant and two Knights of the Realm). The Questing Knights took on another unit of Warriors, whilst a brave unit of Knights Errant hurled themselves at the Dwarf General in the vain hope of stopping them attacking the flank of the Questing Knights next turn. The Mounted Yeomen just failed to reach their target, the crossbows, and stumbled to a halt within short range of their enemy.

The combats went well for the Bretonnians. The large five unit combat in the centre went convincingly to the Bretonnians who routed the Warriors, but of course the slayers would fight on to the end. One unit of cavalry pursued and slaughtered the fleeing Warriors. The Questing Knights wobbled a bit but just about won their combat and routed the other unit of Warriors. The Knights Errant did well against the Dwarf General and his Longbeards but were soundly beaten. Needing a 5 or less to avoid a rout they failed their first roll but the presence of the Battle Standard allowed a re-roll which they passed, thus achieving my aim of delaying the Longbeards for a turn.

Next turn, with most of the cavalry in combat or out of LOS the Dwarf artillery turned its ire upon the hapless peasant bowmen. Such punishment is not worth any amount of turnips and they soon headed for the nearest tavern. The Dwarf crossbows must have been laughing when the Mounted Yeomen pulled up in front of them, having failed to charge successfully. But their round of shooting killed only one yeomen - not enough to force a panic test on their dreadful Ld of just 6. The Yeomen spurred their horses forward and readied their spears!

The combat between the knights and the slayers ground on and resulted in only a handful of knights remaining. The Dwarf General and Longbeards defeated the impetuous Knights Errant but by then the Questing Knights were able to charge and subsequently defeat them. During these turns however, the Bolt Throwers exacted a hefty toll on the knights, their best shot reserved for the Bretonnian General who was by now accompanied by only 3 knights. Therefore the shot had to be randomised (character in a unit of less than 5 models) and truly skewered him.

The game finished with just 6 brave Thunderers left of the Dwarf army. The Bretonnians had three units of Knights left, but of these 2 had taken heavy casualties.

The Victory Points were Bretonnians 1904 to Dwarfs 1141, giving a solid victory. However, I do not think the VPs give an entirely accurate picture of what proved to be a very bloody, hard fought, yet funny and thoroughly enjoyable game of Warhammer.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Games Workshop Rock!

Games Workshop now sell model rocks.

Click here

Anyone who says that GW doesn't have a sense of humour must be wrong.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

WFB - 10th October 2007 - Orcs vs Bretonnians

Had a splendid game of Warhammer with my friend Dave this evening. Here's a pic of the initial deployment.

Orcs vs Bretonnians
(click for larger picture)

Sorry about the slightly odd camera angle, but getting a 6' x 4' table in one pic is tricky.

Both Dave and I tried something slightly different with our armies for this 1,500pt game.

Orcs
Orc Big Boss on Chariot
Goblin Shaman
10 Orc Boarboyz (Big 'Uns)
25 Orc Warriors
25 Orc Warriors
15 Orc Archers
3 Trolls
Orc Chariot
8 Squig Hoppers

Dave had ditched his usual 2 Bolt Throwers in favour of a second chariot, plus he'd invested a whopping 300+ points in a large unit of Orc Big 'Un Boarboyz. Seeing them on the table really gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Bretonnians
Paladin (Questing Virtue)
8 Questing Knights
Paladin BSB
5 Knights of the Realm
Damsel - Level 1 Sorceress
5 Knights of the Realm
6 Knights Errant
6 Knights Errant
5 Mounted Yeomen
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen - Skirmishers

I normally field only 2 or 3 larger units of knights so 5 smaller units was quite a change for me. Also I decided to leave out the Pegasus Knights because at 55pts each they soon use up a big chunk of the army allowance (and I never seem to make good use of them). Must admit that initially I did miss having a unit of 20+ foot slogging Men-at-Arms, but to be honest I can barely recall the last time they actually proved that handy in a game.

Both armies were fairly light on magic and magic items - which is how I like to play Warhammer. Not every Tomas, Dyck or Harald needs to be armed with a Vorpal Chainsaw of Immense Choppiness. Nor does every army need a 'Heironymous von Kloppenspelsinger the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Mysterious Magic' (please insert ludicrous wizard name of your choice). But that's just my view.

The Game
The battle began with the Bretonnian army kneeling in prayer to invoke the blessing of The Lady (those ward saves are so handy), thus giving the first turn to Dave's Orcs. The Boarboyz and one of the big Orc units failed their animosity tests and stood quarreling, whilst almost everything else headed for the Bretonnian lines. The Trolls took full advantage of passing their stupidity test and moved 12" straight ahead.

In return the Bretonnians hurled the 2 units of Knights Errant against the Trolls and scored an impressive 9 wounds, but the Trolls regenerated a staggering 7 wounds! However, combat resolution favoured the brave. Actually it favoured the fellows on horses too - the Trolls failed their break test and fled only to be slaughtered by the knights, whose pursuit rolls left one unit stuck in the middle of a forest!

In Dave's next turn he called the Waaagh and his army surged forward without a problem. Across the table Orcs threw themselves at Bretonnia's finest. The most interesting combat was the chariot riding Orc general taking on the small unit of Knights accompanying the Bretonnian Battle Standard. The chariot's impact hits were saved by the knight's ward saves. Enraged, the Orc General challenged the Paladin to single combat, the brave knight could not refuse and a terrible melee began. Ok - perhaps I'm being a bit romantic here ... actually the combatants ineffectually waved the weapons at each other only to have the knight's warhorse inflict a single wound on the Orc! Combat resolution went in favour of the Knights as the Paladin was the BSB, and the Orc general broke from combat only to be hewn to pieces by the victorious knights. A very extraordinary combat indeed.

Dave's Boarboyz massacred their opponents, a unit of Knights Errant, but their slow pursuit left them open to two counter-charges from knights in the following turn, which saw them destroyed.

By turn 4 Dave's (beautifully painted) Orc horde was much reduced. The Bretonnians had 4 units of Knights still in the fray, though one of them was in bad shape. However, the Orcs were surrounded and in their turn the Bretonnians once again charged the Orc lines. A special mention should be made here of the brave Mounted Yeomen who sacrificed themselves holding up a large Orc unit and preventing it from potentially attacking the flank of the Questing Knights.

The final turn saw the last remaining Orc Warrior unit charged from 3 sides by Knights. Predictably they broke and were cut down as they fled through a wood. The pursuing knights almost caught the Goblin Shaman who had been keeping a low profile in the wood for most of the game.

As the dust settled it was clear that there was no point in adding up the victory points. Only one chariot remained of the Orc army. It was a 'Massacre' to the Bretonnians.

I must say that I really, really enjoyed the game. Dave is a first class opponent and a complete sportsman who keeps smiling throughout the game, and never gives up either. My lack of familiarity with the latest edition of the rules (haven't played since July, plus only a handful of games this year) meant that I kept muffing things up a bit or getting things a bit R's about face, but Dave patiently put me back on track (Thanks).

Need to play a lot more regularly, that's the ticket!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Caesar's Legion (by Stephen Dando-Collins)

If you're even only faintly interested in things Roman then this book is a 'must read'.

Caesar's Legion

Packed with detail, yet not too heavy going, it paints a vivid picture of the great man and his fearsome legionaries. The accounts of his pacification of Gaul and the invasion of Britannia are truly extraordinary. It almost makes me want to switch from collecting Early Imperial Romans to a Caesarian army. If I'm careful about which figures I select then many of them could be used in either army I think.

To order from Amazon (UK) follow this link.

Happy reading!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

My First Game of WAB!!!

At last, after months of anticipation ... my first game of Warhammer Ancient Battles! What fun it proved to be too.

Darren's Early Saxons are not quite finished (as you'll see in the photos), and my HYW English aren't quite either, but that was not going to stop us! Whilst on the way to the Woolston Club I realised that I hadn't been quite this excited about the prospect of a wargame for some time.

The slightly later than planned start time meant that we didn't exactly get the pick of the scenery (hence the sci-fi ruin in place of a peasant hovel), plus I forgot to bring anything scenic along with me - doh!?

The game was a 1,500pt Pitched Battle, pitting the might of my HYW English (until recently Bretonnian) army, against Darren's hairy Early Saxon horde.

Deployment is where I usually make my first mistakes and this game was to prove no exception ... I deployed archers either side of the 'peasant hovel' with the intention of placing some spearmen in the hovel itself (don't ask me why). Darren pointed out that I could not deploy a formed unit in a building so they had to go to the left flank, whilst the men at arms and knights squeezed in on the right. The Saxons were screened by two units of (pesky) skirmishing javelin men. Pah - 'mere skirmishers' I thought - oh dearie me that was silly. The unit of tough looking skirmishing Saxon horse on Darren's left flank did give me pause for thought - rightly so as it turned out.

Deployment
Deployment

The Saxons
The Saxons

The English
The English

The first turn saw some reasonably archery from the English, though no Saxon units fled. The next two turns were different - the English archers almost totally lost the plot, plus the Saxon (Gehdrit) horse proved to be truly fearsome. Darren described my archers as 'shooting like old ladies' and he was right - his javelin skirmishers did better against my longbowmen. The agile Saxon horsemen soon despatched my cumbersome unit of knights and slew my general. The men at arms got bogged down in combat with saxon infantry who just wouldn't run away, then they were thrashed in the rear by the dreaded horsemen. At the end of turn six all that remained of the English were a few archers, giving the Saxons a solid victory.

Regardless of the result for my army it proved to be a very enjoyable game, plus being very instructive too. Darren's a great guy to game against and it was really good to play a game where the result was decided by manoeuvre, tactics and ordinary troops. Long live WAB!

Now I just need to get on and paint some more English ... and those Romans ... and a host of other armies.

Cheers!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

A different way to wargame?

The girls decided to stage a battle of their own

The Battlefield
The Battlefield

Unicorn's Army
Unicorn's Army
That rabbit is going to take some stopping!

Dragon's Army
Dragon's Army

Dragon's Flanking Force
Dragon's Flanking Force
An elite force of chosen ... er .. creatures.

Unicorn's Battle Line
Unicorn's Battle Line
That rabbit really does give me the heebie-jeebies

Dragon's Battle Line
Dragon's Battle Line

The battle was quick and decisive ... the Dragon won!

Lots of fun was had by all.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Why Warhammer Ancient Battles?

In 2006 I had a resurgence of interest in playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles (WFB). By then we’d bought a house and got ourselves established here in NZ so I had the time to get more involved in the local gaming scene. However, playing WFB just wasn’t the same any more. It’s important to point out here that it had nothing to do with any of my opponents! I just didn’t get the same buzz from playing WFB as I did during the 80’s and 90’s. I started looking around at other games and, given my interest in all things WWII, Battle Front’s 15mm offering Flames of War (FoW) caught my eye and I duly bought some figures. However painting them proved to be a nightmare. They looked OK, but I found painting 15mm figures stressful! So that became a non-starter. Then WFB 7th edition appeared and I gave it another go, even running a campaign at one of local clubs. The result was much the same, initial burst of energy but no sustained interest. Although I still enjoyed the fantasy gaming genre and intended to keep (and paint more of) my WFB and Lord of the Rings figures, these games would only be played occasionally. That left me with a puzzle. What do for a gaming ‘main course’?

I considered 28mm scale WWII, but a lack of local players (at the time anyways) and the more important fact that I like the look of mass combat with ranked up units persuaded me to look elsewhere. Perhaps I should expand my small collection of 28mm Napoleonics figures from skirmish to mass battle? Again, local Napoleonic interest seems rather limited (so far as I know) and then only for 15-20mm scales. I’m firmly in the 28mm camp.

I’ve always been interested in Roman history, particularly the military aspects. In fact we joined the UK National Trust in 1995 on a visit to a semi restored Roman Villa near Bath. Add to this a keen interest in the politics and wars of Medieval Europe, anything from the Battle of Hastings through to the Wars of the Roses. So Ancient and Medieval wargaming seemed a natural path to take. Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) covers both very nicely.

Why WAB? As a long time WFB player the game system is very familiar, after all WAB is based on 5th edition WFB with additions for better representing historical troops and tactics. This is important considering that I’ll only manage a game every few weeks at best, so learning a whole new system would be tough. I briefly looked at the DBx rules, which seem to be popular locally, but somehow they just didn’t inspire me. I’d like to find out more about these systems but I think I’ll be sticking with WAB for now. Also, WAB just looked like so much fun. The WAB forum (http://www.wabforum.sadwargamers.co.uk/) is a really great forum with lots of knowledgeable and friendly contributors. Additionally, when WAB first appeared back in ’97 I duly bought a copy with the intent of collecting a historical army, so I already knew something about the system. But like many gaming projects of the time, it didn’t get far and I sold off the rules a few years later (doh!)

Now WAB is firmly the front-runner. I’m really enjoying working on my Early Imperial (approx 50B.C. – 150A.D.) Roman army, plus doing a bit of research in to Ancient British and Roman history. I’m reading a book all about Hadrian at the moment, heavy going in places, but mostly quite interesting. The era that interests me the most at the moment is the Roman conquest of Britannia in the 1st century AD.

Luckily I do not have to wait until I’ve painted a Roman army before playing WAB – phew! My WFB Bretonnian army (as mentioned elsewhere on this blog I think) will convert very easily to a WAB Hundred Years War English army. To that end I’ve been working on adding a few more archers plus tidying up some other figures in order to get the army ready. A friend has kindly loaned me the WAB ‘Armies of Chivalry’ supplement. Once I have my own copy of the WAB rules (in a few days!) I hope to arrange some small games.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

WFB - 12th July 2007 - Dwarfs vs Orcs

My friend Dave has built some excellent gaming boards along with some nice hills and trees. So Thursday evening was spent at his house as Cavaliers was closed due to an auction being held in our gaming rooms.

This battle was to be another clash between my Dwarfs and Dave's Orcs. He's obviously been listening to my ramblings about how painful magic items can benand about how WAB would be a much more fun game, etc, as his army had no shaman and few magic items. My Dwarfs had little in the way of runes too, so it was going to be decided the old fashioned way.

The armies were fairly similar to other listed here so I won't bother with the details.

I deplyed my Dwarfs around a hill to the left hand side of the battlefield, with a wood securing my right flank. The handgunners and organ gun occupied the hill to give them good fields of fire. The rest of the army drew up in front.

Dave's army was quite spread, but his main block of infantry and Trolls were lined up against my infantry for a potential slug-fest.

The Dwarfs won first turn but did little more than advance slightly as all shooting was beyond 24". Dave's first turn saw his troops fail three animosity tests. So almost immediately his attack became disorganised. This was a trend that continued in turns 2 and 3, plenty of failed anaimosity tests plus some excellent shooting from handgunners and organ gun meant that it was a very raggedy Orc army that joined combat with the Dwarfs. The Squig Hoppers proved to be fearsome as they landed on a unit of Dwarfs Warriors and ate 7, but the Dwarfs held steady and saw them off. The other combats were mostly victories for the Dwarfs too. Amazingly the unit of Dwarfs persuing the squigs overran in to the Boar Riders.

By the end of turn 6 there was little of the Orc horde left and aside from the Dwarfs Warriors the rest of the Dwarf army was largely intact. A solid victory to the Dwarfs! About time too. A great game played with well painted figures onnice terrain - proper wargaming.

Friday, 29 June 2007

More History ... Less Fantasy

Have been doing a lot of thinking about toy soldiers recently.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm really more of a historical gamer these days - though most of my gaming recently has been WFB. Luckily my WFB Bretonnian force makes a very good Hundred Years War English army - though a little bit of re-painting is necessary to make it look more 'English'.

I'm also very interested in
  • Ancients - Specifically Early Imperial Rome
  • Medieval - HYW
  • Napoleonics - Skirmish level Peninsular War
  • WWII - No figures yet but plenty of history books - would do 28mm skirmish
Should keep me busy for a while!

Saturday, 23 June 2007

GW - "Old players are NOT welcome"

I'm always happy to help out making the hobby a better place for everyone ... so I just tried the GW THQ survey link from the UK email newsletter. The survey intro advised that it would take about 20 mins.

1st question was Male/Female?
2nd question was Age?

I typed my real age (mid 30's) then the survey said thanks for your input and closed. Tried again with '18' and got asked a raft of questions.

This is a pretty clear signal to me from GW. Older players are NOT welcome. If they had any sense, they'd filter the results afterwards so as not to offend.

Additionally, the surveys after question 1 if you enter Female. Ages 34 and less appear to work fine. I guess I'm just too old.

Right - now where are those Napoleonic (i.e. 'proper' wargaming) figures?

Matt :(

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Guest WFB Report - Orcs & Goblins vs Lizardmen

My friend Dave H sent me a report of his recent game with John D. Fun to read so I thought I'd blog it. Enjoy!

"Played John from Comics with his Lizardmen at 1500 points, so thankfully no Slann to deal with. His list was fine I thought - a General and L2 Skink Priest for characters, 2 large units of Saurus, 3 units of Skinks (1 as scouts), and 2 big units of fear-causing strength 7 Kroxigor. Suspecting he favoured using Kroxy's and no doubt the movement 9 strength 7 character as well, I opted to not take my chariots because of that damn S7 auto-destroy rule. My General was foot-slogging with the lads and I put the second Orc Boss back in the list riding with the Boar Boys, who also got the Banner of Butchery hoping to make an impact when they arrived!

John took first turn, and advanced his 2 big Kroxigor units straight up the centre towards my Orc units. His skinks were too far to shoot and his magic fizzled, and it was my turn 1. Thankfully the trolls passed Stupidity and ran forward to angle across directly in front of the Kroxigor, hopefully to prevent them from charging either of my Orc units and considering that they were almost certainly going to lose combat I also hoped the over-run would be deflected away from the General's unit.

My magic phase was easily dispelled but one spear chukka crew managed to hit a Kroxigor. causing the full D3 wounds to reduce one unit down to 3.
I'd opted for a refused flank on the left, with the Squig Hoppers and Boar Boys on the right, and just the Shaman's Arrer Boy unit on the centre left facing 2 large Skink units alone. Oops! The Squig Hoppers bounced a bit too far into the forest on their move, to end up right on the opposite edge of it right in front of a swampfull of blowpipe-toting Skinks. Oops again! The Boar Boys got in their first - and only - 14" move up the side of the forest before getting within march-denying range of the hidden Skinks.

The trolls had positioned well to draw both units of Kroxigor which both charged in on John's turn 2. Luckily for me John fluffed most of his shots into the Squig Hoppers who were -2 to hit being just in the edge of the forest still, and only 3 fell to poisoned shots. The Shaman's Arrer Boys only lost a single lad and I used my single scroll to deflect a nasty Steal Soul spell which threatened to suck a no-save wound from my General. The Kroxigor hacked into the Trolls and causing about 8 wounds, of which the Troll's did well regenerated and only 1 died. However they failed to hold and fled back 9", luckily not close enough to cause a panic to the General's unit and the squabbling Arrer Boys nearby. The Kroxigor lumbered after them 7" - ripe for the counter charge. Phew!

As John had advanced his Saurus up behind the Kroxigor, and the hordes of skirmishing Skinks were hovering about 7" out from the Shaman's Arrer Boys ready to shoot them to oblivion on his next turn, I had no option but to call the Waaagh! The Orc unit on the centre left surged a full 6" ahead towards the Saurus while the General's lads surged into the flank of the nearest Kroxy' unit, and the Hoppers ignored the skinks to their front to bound sideways into the opposite flank of the second Kroxigor unit. Chomp! Declaring charges I got the other Boys unit successfully into the Saurus thanks to their Waaagh! move eating up the distance, but the Shaman's unit failed their charge when the Skinks in front of them did a runner. The Boar Boys crept their 7" around the forest towards the swamp but being march-denied were in for a long ride to see any action. Damn my poor deployment!

Within 8" of the General the Trolls rallied and turned around, but magic and shooting were a fizzer. Combat was splendid with the General's unit destroying their 3 Kroxigor foes and over-running into the flank of the second unit of 4 - which was then reduced to 2 Kroxigor after being chomped by the remaining Squig Hoppers. The Orc boys on their own were up against John's General and his Saurus unit. Surprisingly John challenged my unit champion with his one, and his General took his own attacks against the rank and file. My champion slew his opponent in convincing fashion with 3 wounds inflicted. The lads didn't fare so well as John's General got his attacks in first thanks to wielding the Sword of the Hornet and killed 3 in turn. The surviving front-row Orc failed to wound but I won combat thanks to an extra rank, although with Cold blooded determination the Saurus stayed put for another round.

On turn 3 the Shaman and his Arrer boys took heavy poisoned-shooting casualties to flee clean through both spear chukka crews, who in turn lost their bottle and decided to leg it as well. The Boar Boys continued their leisurely trot around the scenery (but looked very nice), while the second arrer boy unit could see nothing but a bunch of trees and 3 Troll's arses, so decided to keep squabbling. No such nonsense for the Orc boys and the Squig Hoppers. The vanilla Orc unit again won their combat despite being up against John's General, as his Saurus rank and file totally fluffed their rolls to hit. This time he rolled 5's and 6's so even Cold-blooded couldn't save him, and the Orcs ran them down with glee. Victory was in sight! My General's Orc unit combined with the Squig Hoppers easily wiped out the remaining 2 Kroxigor, and both over-ran towards the Skinks in the swamp trying to avoid the second Saurus unit which and advanced right up on their flank. The Hoppers bounded an astonishing 15" to chomp into the Skinks, while the General's lads waded out deep enough to escape the charge arc of the Saurus but would be bogged-down for the rest of the game.

John's remaining Saurus unit charged into the Trolls, killing one and fleeing the rest but again failed to catch them. His Skinks in combat with the Hoppers died horribly, while the other two Skink units were now alone on the left flank with no foes to face.
In the ensuing turns the Boar Boys continued their wide semi-circuit of the table to arrive with the timing worthy of Americans in a world war, precisely at turn 6. Idiots. The remaining 4 Squig Hoppers managed to bounce another huge distance through the forest to take the second Saurus unit in the rear as it chased the Trolls, munching several of them including the pesky Priest who had just killed my General with his evil Shadow magic spell. Losing half their number in counter attacks the Hoppers fled but successfully to rallied on L5 in their final turn. Yay! They sure were the unit of the match for me. Despite losing my General in the end it was still a solid victory to the Orcs, and a really enjoyable game."

WFB - Bretonnians vs Vampire Counts

Details soon!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

WFB – 24th May – Dwarfs vs Orcs & Goblins (again)

I couldn’t attend Cavaliers as it was PTA meeting night. I invited Dave round for a game – makes sense seeing as how he lives just 250m round the corner!

To keep things simple we opted for just 1,500pts. I quite like these size games as they don’t take too long and do not permit Lord character choices. They’re usually much more about troops and tactics rather than rock-hard characters.

(It’s been a little while since we played so forgive me if the details are a little hazy!)

Dave’s Orc Horde
Black Orc Big Boss
24 Orcs
Orc Big Boss
24 Orcs
Orc Shaman
20 Orc Archers
Bolt Thrower
6 Orc Boar Boyz
4 Trolls
7 Squig Hoppers

Matt’s Dwarven Throng
Thane
14 Hammerers
Thane - Battle Std
19 Longbeards
20 Dwarf Warriors
10 Dwarf Warriors
15 Troll Slayers
10 Thunderers
10 Thunderers
Cannon

This might look like a lot of Dwarfs for 1,500pts – that’s because I only chose 3 runes ... 2 Runes of Stone and 1 Rune of Battle.

The game was really good fun, with the tide of battle swing first with the Orcs, then to the Dwarfs, then back to the Dwarfs, etc. A duff bit of deployment meant that my Longbeards ended up on the left flank where there Old Grumbler’s rule (no panic if within 6”) was of little use. The cannon was a complete waste of points – it’s most effective shot being when it was used as a giant shotgun against a few Boar Riders!

The Slayers did marvellously against their favourite opponents, routing them twice before the Trolls fled the table. Only a handful of weary Slayers remained. Here’s a couple of pics.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The game hung in the balance until the final turn (6) when Dave called the Waaagh! This meant his Black Orc led unit of Orc Warriors were just able to catch a unit of Dwarf Warriors in the flank – after rolling a massive 6” for the Waaagh move and then charging a further 8”. The Dwarf Warriors fought valiantly but were badly beaten and they fled.

Totalling the victory points showed that Dave had won by a mere 30 or so VPs. It was a great game with plenty of hilarious moments and a close result too. But another entry has been scribed in the Great Book of Grudges!

Friday, 18 May 2007

WFB – 17th May – Dwarfs vs Orcs & Goblins

At last Mike and I got around to having a game at Cavaliers. My Dwarfs squared off against Mike’s Orc Horde in a 2,500pts a side Pitched Battle.

With both armies fully painted it was a real spectacle – if only I’d thought to bring my camera. The table had hills in both deployment zones with wood at the edge (Mike wanted plenty of room for his horde) and a single wood in the middle of the table (I had to put it there just to disrupt the Orc lines!). So the Orcs had plenty of room for manoeuvre. The Dwarfs formed a solid line of steel towards their left flank around the large hill on which were deployed the Thunderers and Organ Gun. The Orcs used almost the full width of the 6 x 4 foot table.

Dwarfs
Lord + 24 Hammerers
Thane (BSB) + 24 Longbeards
Thane + 19 Longbeards
Runesmith + 24 Warriors
25 Slayers
10 Thunderers
1 Organ Gun

Orcs
Orc Warlord + 24 Big Uns
Black Orc Big Boss + 24 Black Orcs
Orc Big Boss + 11 Boar Boyz (These looked particularly great!)
4 River Trolls
2 or 3 Mobs of approx 25 Orcs
2 x 10 Orc Archers
1 Bolt Thrower

The Orcs won the roll for choosing sides and also got the first turn. They surged forwards almost as one – just one unit failed it’s Animosity roll. That unit then went on to fail their Animosity test for the first 5 turns!

With no wizards and few missile troops the battle was going to be settled the old fashioned way – by going toe to toe with Dwarf crafted axe and rough-hewn Orcish blade. The game turns rolled by quickly and on turn 3 the armies were locked in combat across the table. The Trolls (helpfully) went ‘stupid’ at a critical moment allowing the Dwarfs the rare pleasure of charging. During the next two turns the staying power of the Dwarfs (Toughness 4, good armour, Leadership 9, etc) really turned the tide of the battle. The Orc horde was held up all across the line and eventually thrown back in disarray. The valiant Dwarf Warriors on my left flank were finally beaten and run down by the Boar Boyz. But by then the rest of the horde were either slain (including the Warboss and Battle standard) or running for the hills.

A really great, friendly game (spoiled only slightly by one exceedingly annoying spectator) against a good opponent. Both armies well painted and nice looking terrain. Brilliant! A win too – which is always a bonus. I’m looking forward to a rematch.

Friday, 4 May 2007

WFB – 3rd May – Dwarfs vs Dark Elves

Another evening at Cavaliers but my original opponents failed to turn up. However a guy by the name of John is new to WFB and was looking for a 1,000pt game with his Dark Elves. In five mins I trimmed my 2.25k list to 1k and we set to.

Dwarfs
Runesmith (Army General)
24 Warriors
Thane (BSB)
15 Longbeards
10 Thunderers
12 Trolls Slayers

Dark Elves
Hero on a Chariot
12 Repeater Crossbows
12 Repeater Crossbows
6 Cold One Knights
War Hydra

I deployed my Thunderers on a hill where there handguns would have a good arc of fire, whilst the rest of the infantry deployed adjacent to the hill. I put the unarmoured Slayers on the right flank where a wood would restrict enemy shooting. 2 x 12 Dark Elves with Repeater Crossbows = 48 shots per turn!

John deployed his crossbows centrally with the general’s chariot on his right and the knights and hydra on his left.

The game opened with volleys from the handguns destroying the chariot. The rest of the Dwarf infantry slowly redeployed to meet the threat of the Knights and the Hydra on the right. The Slayers took a beating from the Hydra’s fiery breath but soon got stuck in causing 5 wounds on the beats before the last Slayer fell. The crossbows fired tremendous amounts of missiles at the Longbeards who were reduced to just 6 figures before the got behind the woods. They promptly failed their Terror test for the Hydra and (rather embarrassingly) fled. The hand gunners finished off the badly wounded Hydra whilst the Dwarf Warriors twice repulsed the charging Cold One Knights.

After 8 turns we agreed a hard fought draw. Another good, fun game with the 1,000pt armies making for fast turns.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

WFB - 25th April – Bretonnians vs Dwarfs

My good friend Rich has a keen interest in military history and expressed an interest in playing some toy soldiers. No problem! I arranged a 1,000pt game with Rich commanding my Bretonnians (HYW French?) whilst Jennifer led her Dwarfs to battle. I chose this lists for both sides, giving a slight advantage to Rich’s force as he’s new to the game.

Bretonnians
9 Knights of the Realm incl Paladin (Army General)
9 Knights Errant incl Paladin (BSB)
6 Mounted Yeomen
10 Bowmen
10 Bowmen
15 Men-at-Arms

Dwarfs
15 Hammerers incl Thane (Army General)
15 Warriors incl Thane (BSB)
12 Troll Slayers
10 Thunders
1 Bolt Thrower

Rich deployed his cavalry all on one flank forcing the Dwarfs to re-organise their battle lines thus reducing the amount of missile fire they could direct at the knights. The Bolt Thrower proved useless, only hitting in the last turn and then the bolt was stopped by a ward save!

Perhaps not surprisingly the Bretonnians won a convincing victory in what was a fun game and hopefully a gave good demonstration of what Warhammer is all about.

WFB - 19th April – Dwarfs vs Lizardmen

My Dwarf army lined up against Garth’s Lizardmen for an evening game at Christchurch Cavaliers (www.chchcavaliers.com). The game was 2,250pts per side, played on a very scenic 6’x4’ table.

Dwarfs
20 Hammerers incl Lord
24 Longbeards incl Thane with BSB
24 Warriors incl Runesmith
24 Troll Slayers
10 Thunderers
10 Thunderers
Organ Gun
2 Bolt Throwers incl 1 Engineer

Lizardmen
Slann + ~20 Temple Guard
2 x 20 Saurus incl Heroes
3 Kroxigor
Mounted hero
15 Skinks incl Hero

As usual I deployed my large blocks of infantry in close support with the artillery, an organ gun and a pair of bolt throwers, on the flanks. The Lizardmen deployed centrally, with the skinks one a flank.

For much of the game the Dwarfs held their ground whilst the Lizard advanced under a hail of reasonably effective handgun and artillery fire. The Skinks took out much of the artillery and a unit of Thunderers. The Slann’s potent magic did not have a big effect on the game – giving the Dwarfs a significant advantage when the battle lines finally clashed. The Kroxigor mashed the Runesmith but the unit of Warriors eventually drove the reptilian giants away. The tough Dwarf infantry proved their worth and eventually won the day. An interesting and good natured game.