Monday, 27 August 2012

Painted Saxon Thegns

With all these nicely painted Vikings marauding around the blog, I thought it best to finish off a unit of Saxon Thegns.

All Gripping Beast plastics painted in my usual way, with LBMS shield transfers.

Here's a slightly closer shot.

Next on my list are a unit of Thegns/Huscarls and some casualty markers, whilst She Who Must Be Obeyed is sorting out some Bondi. I'm pleased to say that the armies are starting to take shape now!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

More Painted Vikings

I'm delighted to report that my wonderful wife has been busy painting lots more Vikings. Here they are.

All her own work, apart from the LBMS shield transfers.

Another even closer shot. I'm sure by now most of you will have realised that these are exactly the fellows that are proudly displayed as my blog banner.

I need to sort a banner for the unit standard. I may try to use one of the paper banners supplied with the Gripping Beast boxed set, or perhaps I'll just stick with LBMS.

Anyway, plenty more on the painting work bench, along with some rather nice pieces of scenery.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

War & Conquest 2nd Gaming Day

Sunday 19th August saw the second of the War & Conquest gaming days, organised by Scarab Miniatures and hosted at the Iron Acton village hall.

I took along my EIR to the first gaming day earlier this year, so I thought I'd give my British Celts a whirl this time. It was a 2,000pt army consisting of
  • Warlord, Army Standard & 30 Noble Warriors
  • Chieftain & 31 Warriors
  • Chieftain & 31 Warriors
  • 24 Warriors
  • 10 Light Cavalry
  • 11 Slingers
  • 11 Skirmishers (javelins)
  • 5 Chariots
The day was organised in to three sessions, each with a specified deployment area and method, all drawn from the very useful "Battle Begins" section of the rulebook. For each game the players also drew specific battlefield objectives.

Game 1 was against Paul's splendid looking Caesarian Roman army. Knowing that he'd be heavily outnumbered he deployed his army to one side of the field, as can be seen from the photo below. The Celts have completed turn 1 and (having won the strategic advantage) advanced rapidly towards the Roman lines.

Here's a couple of closer pics of Paul's army.

All Foundry figures and superbly painted.

In the following photo we can see that the forces are getting stuck in all along the line. What I hadn't realised was that the smaller Roman unit on the left of the picture were Veteran Legionaries. They tore the Celts to shreds. However the nobles in the centre did very well to see off the regular legionaries after a few turns.

The game ended as a draw as neither of us could complete our objectives, plus both armies had taken quite a beating yet both still had several powerful units remaining in good combat order.

Game 2 saw my Celts facing Phil's hairy Germanic horde. This was something of a "grudge" match due to the fact that Phil had been ribbing me mercilessly about the fact that a few of my bases had yet to properly finished off. Dreadful eh? ;o)

Autumn deployment this time, with the picture above showing the position at the end of turn 2. The core of Phil's horde were veterans, i.e. very capable warriors. Phil assured me that as it was Germans vs British it would go to extra time and then the Brits would lose on penalties.

Above you can see that the lines have clashed. Out of shot on the left, the Germanic cavalry and some skirmishers had dealt with the rather inexpertly manouevred Celt chariots. So it was going to be all about the infantry warbands.

The battle ebbed and flowed for another couple of turns before the Celts gained the upper hand and the German lines gradually crumbled. The Warlord and his Nobles were awesome, crushing all who stood before them! The Celt objective was to slaughter the two 'best' enemy units and this was achieved by the end of turn 6, with much of the rest of the German army dead or fleeing. A hard won but solid victory to the British Celts.

Game 3 was against John's Early Imperial Romans. It's not the best of photos but hopefully you can see that the Roman figures are of a certain vintage! In fact many of them are probably older than me. However I had to admit they had a certain charm.

This game used the Spring deployment where armies form up in the corners of battlefield. Again this pic was taken at the end of turn two or three.

John sensibly used his Strategy Points to sieze the initiative and charge the (slightly disorganised) Celt lines. Five units of heavily armed and armoured Legionaries, some of them veterans. The result was carnage! The Nobles put up a stiff fight but the Celt warriors were slaughtered. Disorder and panic spread through the surviving units who (sensibly) fled the field resulting in an overwhelming victory for Rome.

In summary then, three great games against three first class opponents. All played with a strong sense of relaxed fun and good sportsmanship. A special thank you should go to Rob for organising everything and Barabra for providing an excellent lunch. Everyone was clearly looking forward to the next event.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Painted Norman Crossbows

Following on from my workbench post, here's the first of what I hope will be a series of newly painted units for my Dark Ages (or "Early Medieval" if you prefer) collection.

First four


Next four


These are Gripping Beast figures and they've been painted in my now familiar method of white undercoat*, block colours**, wash with AP, matt varnish then highlights.

This is effectively the first 'point' for my SAGA Norman warband, but will also be useful as mercenaries for my Saxon army. Perhaps they're even the start of my Norman army!? Well, I do have a box of Conquest Games knights.

* armour and weapons are undercoated black
** some areas get a highlight before being washed e.g. armour/weapons are drybrushed with chainmail, flesh gets a quick highlight of Foundry Base Sand light.

Right, back to the Saxons!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Dark Ages Workbench

As you can hopefully see in pic below, I've got quite a lot on the go! They're mostly Saxons from GB's plastic Thegns set with a few Musketeer figures. There's also a small group of GB Normans and some Vikings too. Plus some scenery, casualty markers, etc.

In the short term I'll be creating my War & Conquest 'Viking-era' Saxon force, but using some of the Musketeer Early Saxon figures (i.e. Duguth & Gedriht) in order to give the army a more 'wild' and less 'Bayeux Tapestry' look. OK, there's the odd late-Roman style helmet mixed in but really, so what?

This has the added bonus that the figures will be perfect for using with TooFatLardie's Dux Britanniarum rules. Although I still need to paint some more Romano-British in order to play. Hopefully an Arthurian supplement for SAGA is not too far off!

Being Early Saxons they'll also make an ideal start for my War & Conquest Arthurian era Early Saxon army. Effectively expanding the Dux Britanniarum force in to a War & Conquest army. Much like I've done with my SAGA Anglo-Saxons, increasing the warband to become a later Saxon army.

It's rather like having a variety of forces available, for a range of games, from approx 1.5 armies worth of figures. Not only are the figures suitable for a wide range of historical settings, much of the scenery can be used throughout the entire Arthurian and Early Medieval periods too.

Right, back to the workbench for more highlighting, basing, etc. I'll post up pics of some of the completed in the next few days.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dux Britanniarum

Yes, I've got my copy of Too Fat Lardies latest offering, Dux Britanniarum.
Here's the cover ... oooh lovely!

Now, this isn't a full review as I've only had the one read through so far, I just wanted to convey my initial impressions.

I had planned to wait a while before purchasing DB, so as to give me time to finish a few more Saxons, as well as paint up some Romano-British. However, when I saw that the advance order deals included the limited edition Arthur figure plus saved a few pounds on the total price of the book and card decks, I had to order it!

Before I go any further I do have one slight gripe... and that was the packaging. A jiffy bag wasn't quite good enough to prevent my book and map taking a bit of a beating in the post. When I ordered SAGA, Gripping Beast sent the book and boards in a sturdy slimline box. I've sent TFL a note suggesting they offer a more robust packaging option but have yet to get a reply?

Anyway, on to the book. As with many recent rules publications it clearly has a high production value, full colour throughout with artwork, photos and diagrams. This makes it a pleasure just to browse through, so a good start.

The game includes a pre-battle and post-battle campaign sequence. I really like this aspect of the rules as it will clearly encourage a narrative campaign (including lovely maps) but minimises the amount of book-keeping required. Nor does it require a dedicated umpire. If you're successful then your warband can recruit new warriors or you can spend your winnings building churches or forts as part of your quest to become a powerful King or Warlord.

This is my first foray in to the world of TFL games so I wasn't quite sure whether I'd like the card based turn scheme, etc. Basically, the card deck dictates what units or heroes are activated throughout a turn. For instance, when one of your nobles is activated (their card is turned over) they have a limited supply of initiative points to spend in order to get units to move, shoot, fight, rally, change formations, etc.

Shooting and combat are resolved using a number of D6 with factors such as the range, quality of troops, formations and terrain affecting both the number of dice rolled and the scores required. Pretty straightforward stuff really. The back of the rulebook is a handy quick reference sheet. A nice feature is the concept of 'shock' which represents the unit's cohesion and effectiveness. Unit's can accumulate shock by moving through tricky terrain, fighting in combat or being shot at. So a unit defeated in combat may not incur any casualties (i.e. not remove any figures) but it may acrue shock which will ultimately reduce it's fighting efficiency.

There is also a special 'fate' deck that allows players to build a small hand of what are effectively special events. I think these will add an interesting extra dimension to the game play.

The rules assume the sides will be Romano-British and Early Saxons, but further supplements are planned to cater for Picts, Welsh, etc. You'll need approx 40 figures to start playing, with most troops being fielded in groups of 6, so some simple skirmish style movement trays might be handy. As for scenery, you'll need a 4'x3' table (a bit larger would be better) whilst a handful of buildings, trees, rocks and hills should be enough for most scenarios.

In summary, the rules are an exciting prospect and (for me at least) something rather different compared to other rules, though I think they'll take a bit of getting used to. They're well produced with an excellent integrated campaign aspect.

I'm working on the Saxons at the moment, but I do have a few Romano-British already painted. As a big SAGA fan I'm interested to see how the dynamics of the two games compare. If you check out GuitarHeroAndy's blog then hopefully you'll soon be able to read his thoughts on playing the game.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

We Sell Any Monk

In case you're wondering about the slightly odd title, then have a look at this clip from the award winning Children's BBC educational programme "Horrible Histories". Very amusing!

Anyway, here's the latest figures from the painting table, kindly painted by my wife.

Now I need to make sure my brave Saxon warriors can keep the plundering Vikings at bay!

Lots more Dark Ages goodness in the pipeline; Saxon and Viking, figures and scenery. I've been very busy (hence the quiet blog) but much of it is still work in progress.