Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reality Check

Its been 2 years now that the Hosts have been Gathering. Its time to take stock.

If the Glass were 1/2 full it would be because I have painted or fixed up some troops and have played several enjoyable games. If it were 1/2 empty its because I have not only failed to accomplish the stated goals, I have come to realize that I don't really want to.

The main goal, apart from just fixing up broken and disorganized armies, was to end up with two, largish, opposing armies for an extended campaign. I am slowly coming to terms with the reality that it would be more in my nature to plan several smaller matched armies. Actually, since I have reduced my table, my earlier planned armies wouldn't fit anymore anyway.

So, as we enter Year 3 of the Gathering, I need a new plan. I've played some HoTT and some Basic Impetus during the 2 years and thought some about DBA as well as playing non-ancient Portable Wargames and WHAB, and various wildly varying versions of homegrown rules.  I don't want to go down to DBA levels but I was quite happy with Basic Impetus size and density of units when playing Multi-army BI. BI calls for a 12cm frontage with as many or as few figures as you like, ideal for matching old Armati or WRG armies, but Ron and I have been talking about 8cm bases to fit on his 10cm hex grid and I think that the resulting forces are a reasonable compromise as far as numbers of units in the game, number of figures on the table and the amount of space taken up.

For flexibility, sabots with individual or maybe 4cm bases would be good but I like the idea of fixed units with an identity. 12 cm wide units with 24 infantry or 12 cavalry appeal visually but the truth is that I seem to be having trouble "getting into" or rather "back into" painting ancients and on the smaller table, smaller units should fit better anyway.  Luckily, a lot of the existing infantry are based either on individual 20mm sq. bases or 4 to a 40mm square base, so can be used 'as is' or on sabots. New units though, can be the subject of experiments, with based units on a single 80mm x 60mm bases, perhaps 10-12 heavy/medium infantry in 2 or 3 ranks, 8-12 light infantry, 4-8 skirmishers, 4 heavy cavalry, 3 light cavalry. Where appropriate, two of the heavy infantry units can be paired to make a double sized or deep unit.

Naturally, I recently re-based  a number of my medieval Scots onto new 6cm wide bases as fantasy troops, I'll ignore them for now, especially since I don't expect them to need to fight any 8cm based armies, anytime soon. If the need does arise, sabots or a grid can always be used to even things out.

Rules-wise, while Basic Impetus is my current game of choice for away games, I have yet to try them solo. That will come soon. Regardless, once the armies are re-organized, I will have a look at the Gathering of Hosts and finalize its transition to dealing with units and rosters or states vs figures.

Now, the bit where there were two armies. Since I expect smaller armies, I can be open again to multiple periods. Hopefully, if I just paint the last 2 dozen early Achaemenids, I will be able to label 2 armies as Greek and Persian Wars and be done with it. Might need to add a unit or 2 of Spartans but that won't be a hardship.

A Sassinid army is a no brainer since I have various bits and pieces and there are more on my "want' list for when the warchest refills. The question is. "which enemy"? A "proper" Roman army at last would make sense (that is one in lorica segmenta and trousers with rectangular shields and some in cloaks, as opposed to an accurate historical one) but since I also want an historical enemy to fight Ron's Gauls and late Republican Romans, want to make use of my PA molds,  and want to make as much use as possible of existing figures and want an army with a fair number of light infantry, preferably in trousers. Pontus is a natural opponent for Romans and Galatians but not for the Sassinids. I have been eyeing the Sassinid campaigns into the mountains on the northern fringes of their empire, especially into Armenia which also fought Rome but I also need to check out the Kushan as a possible setting for that elusive not quite historical setting.  I suspect the answer is Armenia though. The good news is this would keep my Persians fighting in or near Asia Minor and the Black & Caspian Seas, continuing the original thread, just a few years later!


  1. 8cm frontages are where it's at Ross! I experimented with several others before (and again the 10cm hexes were a big factor) settling on 8.

  2. Funny thing, Ross. I have far more painted "Ancients" armies than anything else . . . and I've not been interested in playing any Ancients for over 15 years. I just don't find that the "urge" is there.

    -- Jeff

  3. Ross my friend - "goals", "plans", "objectives", and all their other evil spawn, belong to the business world, not the world we live in... :o))

  4. Tim good to know I'm following in footsteps and that they don;t belong to a heffleump.

  5. Jeff, the good thing is, they don't go bad in the cabinet, so if the urge comes back, they'll be there.

  6. Steve, I believe its a Roman proverb that loosely translates as "No wind is a good wind if you don't know what port you are saiing to". I have little use for measured goals, schedules, milestones and the like. Din;t pay much heed when I was working, to my Boss's occasional annoyance, or in personal or hobby life, but I have eventually found that it can be useful to know what direction to head in and what I am realistically likely to actually do.

    After all, running before the wind can be fun but you are all too likely to run on rocks, get lost at sea or founder in a squall if you don't keep a weather eye out.