Sunday 28 December 2014

Hello to Matthew Sullivan

Hi Matthew, thanks for joining. Please let us know if you have a blog too!

Friday 26 December 2014

Say hello to Dwarfy McGee

...whose blog is here. Do have a look - there are some really nice Xyston Parthians there at the moment, as well as other goodies.

Monday 22 December 2014

Indian vs Later Persian: a one-off game

I became a little jaded with one-off games (hence the ongoing campaign), but sometimes it's good just to play a game for the sake of it. It's also a good use of figures that won't play a part in the campaign battles, because they are out of season, if you know what I mean:
The Indian right wing (Billy) deploys: a formidable mixed array of cavalry, elephants and foot fronted by skirmishers, and with chariots in reserve.
Their centre comes out of the box: more infantry and elephants. Graham ended up in command here.
Their left (Simon): similar to the right wing, although not quite so strong. Simon supplied the army and set it up.
My command on the Persian left: lots of cavalry. Gordon brought in his army and deployed it; my orders were simple: try to keep Billy's weight out of the centre.
Gordon commanded the centre, which comprised all of the heavy stuff: mercenary hoplites and Persian heavy cavalry with a decent skirmish screen.
Malcolm ran our right, which was a similar force to mine, and had the same orders.
A long table side shot taken after the first moves, from my flank. The Indians are simply rumbling forward, shooting as they go. in the right foreground are my light horse, sent out as a bit of a forlorn hope, the intention being to see if they can do something disruptive.
My view at this stage. Notice my massed cavalry cowering.
Billy's force continues its relentless advance - he seems pleased enough...
Another long side view. From what I remember, Malcolm was being just as cagey as me on his flank, while Gordon pushed forward in our centre, trusting to the heavy stuff to break through.
Things are getting a bit tight on my flank. I have sent the heavy cavalry column at the top right of the photo forward to try to create a traffic jam and slow down the enemy. Only following my orders...
Another side view. The only part of our army that has any forward momentum is Gordon in the centre.
I am still holding, but Gordon is having a really bad time to my right.
A close-up for the sake of it.

Graham burst through some of Gordon's heavies, but then disaster struck the Indian army. A badly mauled elephant unit was destroyed by massed skirmishers, causing an Indian foot unit to rout, which cascaded, taking two more with it. It really looked as though the Indians were going to win handsomely up to that point.

It was a nice to change to play with figures we don't get to see very often any more because they are no longer in the campaign. Having said that, the campaign will probably slow down a bit because we need to paint other troops, so we will see a few more games like this one. A varied diet.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Some smaller figure games

I haven't had a chance to post much over the last couple of weeks - too much work in the run up to the break. Here goes, though:
This is from two weeks ago. There is a short break in the campaign while we prepare for a very large game just before New Year. Hugh asked if anyone wanted to try L'Art de Guerre, a new French set of ancients rules, and brought in two of his lovely 15mm armies for a game of Alexander vs Indians. These are photos of his armies deploying and in action. I played the Indian left wing, and the photo above shows what I was facing: horse archers, skirmish bowmen and elite heavy lancers.
The Macedonian centre speaks for itself...
The Macedonian left flank: a mixture of troop types.
My command at the Indian left: some Persian type light horse with javelins, some Indian mediocre cavalry, and elite heavy chariots with general. Just out of shot to the right I had a couple of elephants.
Our centre: massed foot archers with some interspersed elephants.
Our right - kind of similar to my command. Almost all of the figures are by Xyston, one of the loveliest makes of 15mm.
Some of the action on my wing. I advance en masse while the enemy angles his lancers away from the elephants to take on my lancers. I was able to negate the enemy here and shift my elephants to threaten the flanks of the enemy infantry centre - they countered by turning the Hypaspists to face off against me.
At the same time, I played a 10mm American Civil War game against Gordon (Graham couldn't make it). I was the Confederates, defending against the Yankee horde. We used Gordon's home brew rules, which are fast and furious. My favourite troops are the South's cavalry, and the shot above shows a division of them comprising two brigades.
The whole field looked like this, taken from off to my right wing. My guys are on the left. You can see my cavalry at the very top left of the photo.
My only real success: my horse swept over the hill, deployed into line and caught the blue bellies in column. It took me a while, but eventually I forced them all to run off screaming. Shame about the rest of my forces...

First time I've ever hot-desked two wargames!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Everybody's favourite Romans

Dead ones, that is:
Casualty markers for the two legions most recently finished. I reckon I need five per legion, since they will most likely fight in duplex acies. That means half of the cohorts need these. Figures are plastics by Warlord Games.

I've also just totted up the running total for 2014: 626 foot, 109 mounted and seven nellies.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

We've never played this before: Parthians vs Indians

Yesterday saw a match-up I've certainly never seen on the tabletop before, thrown up by campaign events in Bactria: a battle between Indians and Parthians. It sure looked purty...
Massed panzer division on the Indian right wing, screened with huge numbers of skirmishers and with cavalry in reserve. Run by Gordon.
Moving more into the Indian centre, the massed foot archers make their appearance, run by Graham.
Their left, run by Simon in person. This is the second time in a couple of weeks we have managed to get the Indians on the table.
The Parthian left, with Billy in shot - he insisted! He doesn't look too happy at having to face all those elephants...
My command is in the centre.
Willy ran our right.

Terrain was pretty basic, comprising a large low hill and a large high hill. I had no idea what to do with the Parthians except hope for the best, so I went for a symmetrical deployment. The Indians, of course, will be leading with their right, straight towards Billy.
Above is a long sideshot, taken from Willy's wing, our right. He does have superiority here, but did I mention all those elephants at the far end?
Staying at this side for the moment: the opening moves.
Same perspective a little later.
More of the same.

I wasn't feeling great, with a headache that developed later on into a really bad night (don't worry, I'll spare you the details). So I'm having a sickie today and trying to concentrate enough to type this. Basically, Billy was pressed back relentlessly on our left, with many of his horse archers having to flee off table. In our campaign, this means that the units automatically survive the battle, but count against army break point - it's a way to try to simulate horse archer armies. I had some limited success in the centre, breaking a unit of foot bowmen but having to sacrifice horse archers to do it. Willy had rotten luck on our right, suffering from very poor morale. The Indian elephants and archers did well, sandpapering our army away until it fled the field, but they did take significant casualties amongst their supporting cast.

With the dust settling, I toted up the damage to both sides and while the Indians won handsomely, they didn't have enough weight to conquer the province, so they have retired whence they came. I think they would be quite happy with a continuously devastated Bactria as a buffer against the Parthians, though. The latter have also retired to lick their wounds, vowing a rematch.

Next up will be a large game at the end of the year: the Gallic incursion of 121 BC into Provincia. We are hoping to get to the club earlier than usual on Tuesday December 30th and try a 50% or even 100% larger game.

Monday 1 December 2014

An Embossed Legion

Or, to be more precise, a legion carrying embossed shields, by Companion Miniatures:
There are actually two slightly different designs, but together I had enough (barely) to cover an entire legion.
Officers are mostly by Navigator Miniatures, I think. The legate is their Crassus figure.
I'll do one more legion of these guys and then start thinking about the opposition...

On the Painting Tray: November 2014

More Romans: a legion of eighty figs plus mounted legate.  Also, some interesting ones: 15 casualties.  After that, I'll paint some cavalry and then move away from Rome for a while.  North Africa, that'll do the job - I'll need to add to my forces there pending the rise of Jugurtha...

Thursday 27 November 2014

The Hydaspes

I have just updated the ancients scenarios page for 500-250 BC with a modified version of the Hydaspes. We are hoping to run this game at Carronade in May 2015, and maybe again at Claymore in August. However, we were able to try it out at the Glasgow leg of the Armati tournament. This is the second year we have have been able to put on a large 25/28mm game for our visitors. Last year we tried Ilipa, and since Simon has the figures, we thought we would pre-empt the Society of Ancients Battle Day for 2015 and try Hydaspes. The Friday night large game is becoming a bit of a fixture before the tourney proper begins; it's kind of a way of saying thanks to those make the journey to Glasgow, and provides some light relief.

The table was pretty basic, but I hope the photos give you some indication of how the game played:
The Macedonian right, from an Indian deity's perspective. Note that nasty little man in front of the Companions dishing out orders.
The next section of the Macedonian army - plenty more is off table. Bruce ran Alexander and the cavalry, while Vincent took the rest. The echelon deployment makes it difficult to fit the invaders onto the field, so we just fed them on as the phalanx advanced.
A shot of Simon's lovely Indian army: the massed centre. Carl played the Indian left, Mark the centre and Ian their left.
Chariots and cavalry on the Indian left. That's Poros at the top right as you look at it; after the battle we decided he should have an elephant unit all to himself.
Full table shot, side-on from the Hydaspes itself. Alexander's weight can be clearly seen to the left, and the whole Indian deployment at the right.
An attempt at an atmospheric photo-opportunity. Note the celestial hat stand in the corner.
One of the Indian chariots too.
The battle begins, with Bruce attacking aggressively, and being heckled by the onlookers, just because he is playing Alexander.
Mark advances some of the elephants to try to cramp the style of the invaders, who are pretty much all on table by this point.
A close-up of chariots and Companions mixing it.
It's not all going the way of the Macedonians, though, as the leftmost unit of Companions gets caught by elephants as well as chariots - I hope you can see it in the centre of the photo above. In the right foreground, though, Alexander is doing what Alexander does best, apart from killing his friends after a drunken binge.
A gratuitous shot of the Indian army's moment of glory.
Phalanx against elephants. despite the initial crunch, it can only really end one way.

Fleeing Companions. You don't get to see that very often, so we posed them specially for the shot.
In the meantime, the chariots start to have a bad day. Apologies for this one, it seems a bit blurry - just wanted to keep the narrative flowing.
Some of the Companions break through to the cavalry beyond.
I shifted positions to take the one above from the Macedonian side of the table: the Indian left is looking ominously bare, but the elephants in the centre have about-faced to try to come into the flank of the Hypaspists.  They will need to re-order themselves first, though. At this point the initiative dice gods fled and the enemy light cavalry were able to get the elephants from their flank and rear.
Alexander has finished off his chariots, and is now squaring off against Poros in person, who has joined the other Indian cavalry unit.

Alexander meets Poros, especially remounted on an elephant for the occasion. Was that a speed bump? The Indian army disintegrated at this point.

We had a good post-battle discussion, and I have modified the scenario we used accordingly.  People seemed to enjoy themselves, and the armies sure looked pretty.