Monday, 27 April 2015

Gordon's English Civil War

In between ancients campaign battles, we have started playing other things at the club. I've never been especially interested in the English Civil War, but both Billy and Gordon have armies, and Billy also has his special carpet tile terrain - so why not? Anyway, Gordon is writing some rules, so it's time for a little playtest:
 The first photo shows the two armies deployed as a full table shot from one of the flanks.
I played the left of one of the playtest forces.
Here are my regiments of foot debouching to face the advancing enemy.
And here they are starting to engage. My shooting was excellent, my opponent's was rubbish, and then when I and Billy to my right charged in we got hammered. A good playtest. These photos are Billy's figures, and very fine they are too - Essex 15mm, if I remember correctly.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Hi Evan

Just saying hello to Evan Hughes, who contributes to Millsy's blog Canister & Grape as well as their imagi-nations project here

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Clash of the Big Men

Cimbri versus Illyrians, to be exact. Details are sketchy, but it does seems that after an initial encounter with the Romans, at least some of the migrating Cimbri wandered south-eastwards into what is now known as the Upper Balkans, and encountered the locals, who were less than chuffed at this development. Cue an excuse for us to set out a large tribal encounter battle. Our campaign date for this one is autumn 112 BC.
 The first photo shows the German left from the perspective of the Illyrians. The daytrippers have all of their cavalry together here, with a small elite warband to their left.
The German centre: lots of heavy warband types.
Their left: a couple of looser formation warbands deployed opposite some rolling hills. Graham supplied the army and the deployment. He also ran the left half of their army while Gordon ran the right.
The Illyrian left: light horse, some heavy peltasts hiding in the trees, and some of the aristocracy on horses. The guy on a chariot denotes the chieftain commanding this wing.
The Illyrian centre: three warbands at the left of the photo, and three units of somewhat less uncivilised foot to the right.
The Illyrian right: a large loose formation warband, with more nobles and some more of those nasty peltasts. Simon supplied the figures (although he couldn't be there himself) along with a little help from me. Billy deployed the troops and ran the right half of the army; I was in charge at the left.
A long table shot of the initial dispositions from the flank at our left.
And another from the same point after the first moves. In the far distance you can see that Billy has advanced his medium foot. Whatever the outcome of this particular scrum, there will be much blood spilled: medium foot against medium foot, spiced up with some hard charging impetus, always leaves a mark. In the foreground, I am my usual boring self and use my extra light forces here to swing out in an intended envelopment.
Same place a little later. This is all about to become very messy.
Still staying with the same perspective, my shooting has eliminated the German light horse and my guys have also absorbed their initial heavy cavalry charge. Further into the distance it's all one gigantic melee.
A close-up of my victorious clan. My horse and light troops are ready to swing into the centre, while my warband has got into a small-scale fight of its own with a larger German warband in the scrub.
This used to be Billy's centre. He did almost break through here, destroying a warband right in the middle of the enemy line. but their pals held firm regardless. Fortunately for the Germans, though, their King died with them, which of course ensures the army's victory.
More victorious Germans at our right.

Oh well, at least we got to play a very large warband encounter, something we have never played before, at least on this scale. I'm sure the Germans will stir up some more of the tribes on their wanderings.

Strangely enough, the death of the German leader gives us a campaign rationale for the historical fact that the Cimbri turned north-west again after this foray: although they won the battle, the loss of their King has forced them to regroup while electing a new one.

Quote of the night: "After forty years of wargaming, I've finally painted an army that wins!" - Graham.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hi to Kurtus

Just saying hello and welcome on board to Kurtus Brown, whose blog is here

He has some really good reviews of the new Cigar Box Europe mats at the moment.

Oh, and hello to someone else too - my followers count seems to have gone up, but I can't figure out who you are!? So, a hearty welcome to the Gamer With No Name. Apologies: Blogger has probably buried the information somewhere unreachable in a dark, dingy basement. Must send the kids down for a look...

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Numidian Light Infantry

I've been plodding along with these guys in the run up to the holiday weekend:
 Four units of 18 light infantry, plus a command base. You can tell the command guy because he has a big shield - must be rich or something.
Each unit also has a small command group of its own. No big shields, but they can afford proper white clothing. One of them even has a sword!
I went for quite bold but random designs on the shields. presumably they are made from various animal hides and bits of leather stitched together - goatskin and whatever else comes to hand.
The bases are deliberately sparse to make them look like scrubland. Figures are by Crusader Miniatures. I have another 144 of them for the closer based units to go with the Companion Miniatures figs I already have. Crusader's style works well with Companion. Crusader also offers other foot options as part of their range: trained infantry and also imitation legionaries. For the moment, I'm sticking with these generic warriors. I will eventually get around to the legionary types when we need them later in the campaign.

I think this will be quite an unusual army - I don't think I've ever seen a whole Numidian army, at least not in this size, 15mm being more common. I'm going to need them, though - Jugurtha has appeared and is busy looting chunks of Roman North Africa, along with the odd massacre or two of Roman citizens. Reprisal will be on its way soon...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Something a bit different at Easter

I ended up playing a game at Billy's place yesterday with Roy and Willy. I have been promising to go and see Billy for a while now, and the holiday weekend was a great opportunity. Roy was able to bring along his plastic 20mm Romans and Carthaginians for a game of Art de le Guerre on some of Billy's lovely terrain tiles. Photos mostly taken by the Romans (i.e. me):
First up is the Carthaginian right wing: lots of Numidian horse, some decent heavier cavalry, and then some medium warband types preceded by slingers.
The Carthaginian centre: African elephants and heavier, armoured warbands. Hannibal in command. I think that in these rules the African elephants aren't as powerful as their eastern cousins. Warbands are classed as either heavy or medium foot, with Impact charges.
The Carthaginian left: a load of powerful elite spearmen, a couple of units of elite heavy cavalry, and some slingers. Roy drew up the Carthaginian deployment and ran the right half of their army, Willy the left.
I set up the Romans. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I put a command of allies on our left: some medium non-Impact foot (must have been Italian hill guys), a couple of units of light cavalry, and two units of elite spearmen - Campanian hoplites, maybe? We also had a couple of units of slingers forwards in the woods.
A suitably Roman centre: a wodge (is that even a word? Who cares?) of Hastati with Triarii in reserve and a couple of forlorn-looking bases of Velites out front. The eagle stands at the back represent the camp.
Our right: another wodge of Hastati, this time backed by Principes elites, with the usual Velites out skirmishing. The extreme right holds three bases of Equites, all packed together so that they could quake in fear equally. Our C-in-C is as good as Hannibal, and is on this wing. I ran the left half of the Romans, Billy the right.
This is a long side shot taken from off to our left. The Hand of Willy is hovering over the Carthaginians on the left as you look at it, and the Hand of Billy on the right is pointing at some Romans. I hope the photo does Billy's layout some justice: he has constructed geomorphic terrain using carpet tiles, mainly for use with later 15mm periods such as the English Civil War, Seven Years' War and American Civil War. We ruled that for our purposes the river was insignificant. Must be the dry season or something.
A second side shot shows the initial moves.
Same view, a little later. In the foreground, the Numidians are happily pouring across the river while my Italians have gone for a sleep in the nice safe trees. In the far distance, you should be able to make out our rightmost command closing with the Carthaginian elite spearmen.
Above is a close-up of our central legionaries confronting the Gauls. Some of then are actually in some woods, but we removed the trees to make space for the figures. Or maybe the Gauls just ate them.
Another close-up, this time showing the elite Carthaginian heavy spearmen bearing down upon Billy's Hastati.
A side view of the whole field at this point.
The Numidians do what Numidians do best - flank entire armies.
Some enemy slingers try to wake up my Italians.
Deadly contact on our right.
And in our centre.
Most of the Numidians are off around the rear of our forces, leaving a few behind to wipe out my light horse.
The central fight against the Gauls has initially gone well for us.
My seemingly doomed light cavalry perform better than expected - only one of them is destroyed, while the other actually wins its combat.
Surprisingly, Billy's Hastati do well in the first part of the fight against Willy's elite spearmen.
An aerial shot shows the Numidians riding across our rear. Painful that is.
Reinforcements go in and our right begins to weaken.
The same happens against the Gauls.
However, we also have reserves...

That was the last photo. Basically, our initial melee surge put us well ahead, but the Carthaginians almost drew level again by committing their reserves. Then we threw in our ours, and edged the battle - a bloody victory for Rome. With hindsight, what won it for us was simply being able to make maximum use of those legionaries, who ended up in the right place at the right time. Apart from the lights, there was no cavalry contact, and the pachyderms played no part, which means that the game played out to Rome's strengths. Oh well, you can't have everything...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

On the Painting Tray: April 2015

Numidians, sir, fasounds of 'em! Well, close enough at a figure scale of 1:60. I have 72 Light Infantry to finish and then start 144 close formation  medium foot types. It sounds a lot, but then I do have a couple of weeks' leave coming, so that will help. All that will remain to be able to field them in the campaign will be some command stands and skirmishers. I want to try to get these done as soon as possible. Jugurtha is on the move...