Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Redirecting of Hosts

It has become clear to me that the proposed effort to stage a joint 25mm massed fantasy battle at a convention is unlikely to come about in the near future. However, I like some aspects of where the proposed game has led the Gathering of Hosts rules and I am going to continue developing them  to suit myself with an eye for using them  with both my historical 16th Century and my Medieval/Fantasy armies. In effect they will become a new, improved, broader version of the Rough Wooing rules.

I somehow manage to delete all copies of the original photo on all platforms so here's an alternate view.

I intend to keep each stand as a unit but to once again have explicit multistand formations and to  focus a little more on the role of commanders.

With all that in mind I have a game on the table but I'm not ready to get rolling dice as I try to picture how the game should feel and how the rules will need to be shaped to deliver that whether played solo, one on one or as a multiplayer game.

So far there have been a number of "Aha!" moments followed by "oh not quite right". That in itself is a sign of progress though.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

E pluribus unum sagittariis (or something like that)

I don't like cutting up original, unbroken, Elastolins but have been  able to acquire a number of unpainted kits over the years. Having finally acquired 2 Roman cavalrymen and a reason to use them I set to work.

Unfortunately, what with the recent doubling of my Hunnic forces and having recently read Simon MacDowell's book on Chalons, I suddenly decided that I needed a Roman horse archer unit. I did have one of the relatively civilised, armoured, Hun Horse Archer kits  that could work with a head swap but the rest of the Hun kits were all the wilder sort and besides, I'll need every Hun I can get my hands on. I only had a few foot archer kits left, one of them being an archer firing down from a tower, great for siege dioramas but.....

Ok so its not really out of many, more like out of two. New figure on left. Component figures on the right, well other copies of the component figures at least. 
At first I had been expecting to cut both figures at the waist but the cavalry man splits diagonally along the  shoulder belt while the archer is a one piece body with two separate arms. I decided it would be better to do arm swaps. (The archer will reappear one day.) The anatomy is so well done on the Elastolin figures that its often hard to just drop arms or bodies on as things like which way the weight is shifted for balance and the tilt of shoulders will be wrong. I was anticipating a fair amount of work to adjust things but I lucked in. I didn't want an archer firing into the dirt and anyway the angle on the joint between the kits was all wrong for that but as I fiddled with the bits trying to find a good pose, the shoulders just sort of fell into place with the archer holding his bow at a slant. It looked good to me and only required minimal fitting.  I meant to hang a shield from his saddle bow but....oh well.

Since one of the game requirements for Rob's project was single stand units and since that's how my 16thC lads are organised, I have decided to stick with it, so, two units of comic book Roman cavalry, one of them being horse archers. One of the original requirements from Rob was single stand units since he has a few rare figures that can't muster enough for two bases but which he wishes to include. Its the same with my Elastolins and is how the 16th Century Rough Wooing project was done. So here are two "units" of Roman cavalry on temporary bases.

Surprising how hard it was to resist shading and detailing but I even left three of the horses unpainted to try and keep a suggestion of the original toy and comic book origins. The original weren't this glossy but it'll fade and  does suggest "toy". 
Next...hmm.. siege tower? more Romans? Huns on foot? "Barbarian" heavy cavalry? hmmm

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Whaddiyah Get When You Cross A...

Work is now well under way on organizing, painting and basing my 4cm Elastolin Romans. First up, they needed a mounted General to command in the field.

Comes Imonsey Magnus and Tribune Jehanus  

I didn't actually have one, or even a spare cavalryman but I did have 2 commanders on foot and a very Heroic Horse from one of my Norman knights. A bit of scrounging turned up a volunteer Saxon knight to provide legs. Not bad but the pointing thing was, well, ok, but then I noticed that his scabbard was empty. Right! A few minutes later I had a spare Elastolin arm with sword from, well, I'm  not sure which kit it was from, I don't seem to be missing one. A little chopping, gluing  (gotta love hard plastic), pinning, puttying and painting and  tada! It belatedly occurred to me that it might have been useful to paint him to match my commander on foot so that I could have had foot and mounted versions of the character like I do for the Prince. Oh well. I'm intending the Romans for massed battles anyway.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Re-Gathering of Hosts

When a month went by without me being able to talk myself into playing another game or even painting or basing any figures for this high priority project I knew I had a problem. I decided to review my objectives and revisit the rules once again since I really wasn't sure where they were headed. Uncertainty is the death of enthusiasm.

Inside the walls of Nulpartium the anxious garrison watches a vital convoy under assault.

The primary goal was something new which would be suitable for a convention setting where there would be 6 or 8 players, each with up to a dozen units, who would be given a 5 minute briefing and a QRS and then thrown into battle. Past experience tells me that this can work, even with novice gamers, if the rules are simple and clear. A quick review confirmed my suspicion that I had been wandering away from straight forward.

A secondary goal was to develop something that a gamer in the 70's might have cobbled together bssed on published rules with the provisio that it had to work with single unit stands regardless of the number of figures. That pretty much left me working with Morschauser's Shock Period rules despite my own experience back then all being WRG and Featherstone. I'm sure there are other possible sources of inspiration but I'd as soon work with what I am already familiar with.

The last couple of drafts had wandered so far from Morschauser's rules that the inspiration was no longer recognizable. I got out my copy and started over.

A replay of the ol' wagon train. Romans under attack by Germanic allies of the Huns.
The first thing I did was to review the very bloody melee rules to look at the odds and whether converting the both die result to a tie would help or if there was at least a way to use his factors and simplicity. I managed the last two by turning the melee rating into the number of dice to be rolled and using his shooting dice scores for melee as well.

Next I ditched all the excess fidgety bits I had added about formations and low level tactics. I also ditched the new sequence of play and went back to move and/or shoot on your turn with a joint melee phase at the end. I kept the initiative roll since I like it and it goes back at least as far as Featherstone.
Just when all looked bleak with Barbarians amidst the Bullocks, the Tribune sacrificed himself to save the last wagon. By a freak of the dice the Barbarian chieftain was slain on the farside of the hill at the same time. When the dust settled both armies were shaken and could no longer shoot or attack. Only the city garrison was unaffected, including the unit of cavalry which had ridden out to save the convoy. One cart has been ransacked, another was abandoned when the driver panicked but can now be rescued while the 3rd was indeed saved by the Tribune since the Huns, who were about to slay the driver and pillage it, also panicked when their Chieftain fell.
The end result of this was a cracking little Wagon Train game that had me on the edge of my seat  until the whole thing was upturned and reversed at the last minute. I am stoked now to get back to painting and basing and to play some more games.

The Version 7 draft is now posted click here  or use the link to the left.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lost in Time

Alas a busy week including a long weekend away has driven the details of rules and the last game out of my head.

The Barbarians deployed 6 companies of lightly armoured infantry trained in shieldwall and shock tactics, 2 companies of archers and a company of light shock cavalry.  Two of the infantry stands contained a commander. Off table were 3 companies of  heavy shock cavalry inc General and 6 stands of horde archers.

The Midlish force fielded 4 stands on pikemen, 3 of swordsmen, 2 archers and 3 knights, 2 on armoured horses. Apart from the Earl there were 2 infantry captains.

The shieldwalls proved tough opposition for the knights and for the pikemen but eventually they were broken just as the barbarian reinforcements arrived. The combination of cavalry and archers proved too much for the swordsmen who were a bit down on their luck. By turn 6 the Midlish held the objective and were braced for the counter attack.

<Please insert mental picture of one of the photos I was sure that I had taken of the 2nd half.>

The horse archers began by riding around taking pot shots while the Barbarian knights moved into position but given the short amount of time remaining, and the shortage of space, the horse archers needed some extra luck to do more than weaken the enemy and eventually one group got caught when evading and another group evaded off the table and out of the battle. The final charge by the Barbarian knights supported by the horse archers came close to breaking the Midlish knights but not close enough and the Barbarian morale collapsed with the death of their General.

There will be more of these games ahead in the next few months. Some with magic, some with walls and siege engines, some big and some small but hopefully with increasingly better presentation with names, background stories, terrain and bases.