Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ambush Teaser

Knew it was too quiet in the hills to be true.




Saturday, May 30, 2015

Save me!

I now have 18 Midlish and 25 Western units (60mm bases) ready to play. Some of the bases lack texture but at least they are all table green.

Some changes have been made since the last test the most important being:

1. Armour saves have been introduced to replace the -1 vs heavies modifier.
2. Additional troop types have been added and changes made to some specisl unit rules.
3. The restrictions on shooting and moving have changed. Light units may now move and shoot as per original game but only roll 1/2 dice. Medium bow units may only move or shoot but roll 1 die per strength point.

if all goes well the armies will march on Sunday.

The Western Woodland Horde.


Mostly Morchauser Shock Rules Test 6 Quick Reference 
(Note clean up done to troop names Sun am and to make armour saves match troop types pm)




  • Play Sequence. Alternate turns.
  • Active player moves and shoots units in any order
  • Resolve all melees
  • Movement.
    Infantry 6", Light Infantry 8", Cavalry 10", Light Cavalry 12", Artillery 4", flying creatures 12" May pass over units of either side. Great Beasts 10"
    Stop when entering a ford.
    Units may turn or move sideways as desired unless engaged or attacking but no part of stand may move more than move allowance.
  • Engagement Range. If a unit is within 2" of the enemy it is engaged. Moving to engagement range is an attack. When moving within 2" of enemy a unit must halt or move to contact an enemy. If starting within 2" of enemy front a unit must halt, move to contact or retreat.
  • Shooting. (Updated post test game) Light Infantry and Light Cavalry Archers may shoot then move or move then shoot but only roll 1 die per 2 strength points rounding up (if they move). They may not shoot and attack.  Infantry and Cavalry Archers and Artillery may either move or shoot but roll 1 die per remaining strength point. 

    1. Range: Foot Archers 12", Horse Archers 6" 
    2. Effect: Each 6 hits target in cover,  5,6 hits target in open. 
    3. Artillery: Range 18 hit on 2,4,6
    4. Limits. Must have line of sight. May not shoot if fording. May not shoot if self or target is engaged. LOS in woods 2"


  • Melee. If in contact both sides roll during the melee phase. Roll 1 die per remaining strength point Roll Melee Power or less to hit. Front/flank values. 

    1. Shock Cavalry 5/3, Cavalry Archers 4/2, Light Cav 4/2, Light Horse Archers, flyers 3/2 GB 5/3
    2. Shock Infantry 4/2, infantry archers 3/2, Pikemen 3/3,  Light Infantry 3/1, Light Spearmen 2/2, Light Archers 2/1 
    3. Modifiers: to power but never less than 1 after modifiers
      1. -1 to power if attacking uphill or out of stream or if any but Light Infantry or light archers in woods
      2. -1 to power  if enemy is behind hard cover or is pikes or spears in the open.


  • Armour Saves. When a unit takes a hit from shooting or in melee it may roll 1 die per hit to reflect the defensive benefit of any shields, helmets, armour, thick skins or ability to dodge. Troops with light armour or just a shield save on a 6. Troops with 1/2 armour and shield save on a 5,6, infantry in full armour and armoured cavalry on barded horses save on a 4,5,6.
  • Strength Points. All units start with 4 strength points except artillery which have only 2, and some exceptionally big and strong monsters. When all strength points are gone the stand is removed.
  • Commanders. Form part of unit or may be a single figure which may attach to any unit. Commander rolls extra die in melee. Commander will be last man killed on stand. If commander killed all units roll 1 die. 5,6 carry on, 3,4 retreat a full move, 1,2 Rout.
  • Army Morale. When an army has lost 1/2 of its units it may no longer shoot or attack or move into contact.
  • Friday, May 29, 2015

    The Black Company Leads The Way

    Rebasing is proceeding swiftly during very short spurts which are too few. Some thought is being given to trying armour saves again now that melees are only 1 round per player turn.

    Meanwhile, here is the reformed Black Company. The knights are down to 3 but the bigger base has allowed the crossbowmen to deploy their pavises, 1 per 2 men.

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    Tweaked

    Its been 5 years since I decided to develop a fast and easy set of homegrown rules for my ancient/medieval games rather than trying to keep up with the latest commercial fad. This current exploration of a Morschauser based set is nothing like what I had in mind back then. This has led me to question whether or not I should keep the Gathering of Hosts name so I decided to go back and check the rules against the original criteria. (See camel meets straw post)

    So far the new rules clearly meet 4 of the criteria. They are simple and intuitive enough to be played without a QRS and to be easily learned, focused on major troop types rather than details and the 6 cm bases are compatible with more than one set of commercial rules, esp since I will end up with many pairs of stands. The original list calls for single figures but allowing for elements and tracking hits which is how the new rules work.  The intention is to develop some sort of command control for commanders so that remains a maybe. Lastly while large battles work I have not yet tried a small game so that is also an open question. With somewhere between 5 and 7 of the 7 criteria met, I am satisfied that I am justified in continuing to use the name.

    That settled, here is a summary of the rules as played by Rob, Norman and myself last Friday.

    Morchauser Shock Rules Test 5 Quick Reference 



  • Play Sequence. Alternate turns.
  • Active player shoots with archers and artillery. Horse archers may move upto 1/2 then shoot then finish move.
  • Active player moves units in any order
  • Resolve all melees
  • Movement.
    Hvy Inf, Med Inf  6", Lt Infantry 8", Archers 8", Heavy & Medium Cavalry 10", Light Cavalry and Horse Archers 12", Artillery 4", flying creatures 12" May pass over units of either side.
    Stop when entering a ford.
    Units may turn or move sideways as desired unless engaged or attacking but no part of stand may move more than move allowance.
    If 2+ Pike units turn back to back they form square instead of moving. Then then have no flank but may not move. 
  • Engagement Range. If a unit is within 2" of the enemy it is engaged. Moving to engagement range is an attack. When moving within 2" of enemy a unit must halt or move to contact an enemy. If starting within 2" of enemy front a unit must halt, move to contact or retreat.
  • Shooting. Archers that shot may still move but may not attack. Artillery which shot may not move.  Roll 1 die per remaining strength point.

    1. Range: Archers 12", Mtd Archers 4" 
    2. Effect: Each 6 hits Heavy or in cover,  5,6 hits all others. 
    3. Artillery: Range 12 hit on 2,4,6, range 6 hit on any but 6.
    4. Limits. Must have line of sight. May not shoot if fording. May not shoot if self or target is engaged. LOS in woods 2"




  • Melee. If in contact both sides roll during the melee phase. Roll 1 die per remaining strength point Roll Melee Power or less to hit. Front/flank values. 

    1. HC & MC 5/3, Lt Cav 4/2, Horse Archers, flyers 3/2 
    2. HI 4/2, MI 4/2, Pikemen 4/1,  LI 3/1, Archers 2/1 
    3. Modifiers: to power but never less than 1 after modifiers
      1. -1 to power if attacking uphill or out of stream or any but Lt Inf & archers in woods
      2. -1 to power  if enemy is heavy or is behind hard cover or if cavalry fighting pikes frontally.




  • Strength Points. All units start with 4 strength points except artillery which have only 2. When all are gone the stand is removed.
  • Commanders. Form part of unit. Commander rolls extra die in melee. Commander will be last man killed on stand. If commander killed all units roll 1 die. 5,6 carry on, 3,4 retreat a full move, 1,2 Rout.
  • Army Morale. When an army has lost 1/2 of its units it may no longer shoot or attack or move into contact.


  • ........................................................................................
    These are the rules that we used for the playtest, it was just a matter of figuring how to catagorize each stand of orcs, elves, wolves, men etc . The dragon was a bit of a puzzle but we finally decided to count as flying heavy cavalry  with 6 hits.

    After a brief discussion on magic we decided to defer and just made the scenario be about disrupting a wizard who was casting a complex spell to demolish the Elven castle. (he can be seen atop a small green knoll in the nearest corner of the table in the picture.

    I spared a few troops to delay the enemy's approach on the wood and deployed the rest in 2 lines between wood and table edge with a reserve of warg riders and flyers including the mighty if somewhat cartoonish dragon. The enemy massed cavalry and spearmen against the gap with a host of elves going through the wood. The attackers had 37 stands and the defender 35 iir.

    I took an early lead as my archers shot well at the attackers. Since Rob's cavalry started opposite my main line while Norman's infantry had to slog through the woods and over the river in a giant wheel, his cavalry struck first and, after a fierce fight, were pretty much wiped out before his infantry could close in support. I did a sort of Roman line relief and battled with his heavy infantry, getting the worst of it before my reserve attacked his flanks and rear (I like flyers!).

    My horse archers sat and watched Norman's advance for a while but finally took off for a ride around the enemy, hoping to hit Rob's heavies in the rear. Norman's archers did some nimble blocking and though I got around them it took too long so I turned on them. It took about 4 turns but eventually I wiped him out at a cost of over 1/2 my force.

    Back in the woods Norman's eleves finally threw the few remaining remnants of my flank guard out of the wood. They were just in time to see the sort of damage a playful dragon can do. During my melee phase the enemy lost their 19th unit and were no longer able to shoot or attack. My forces had lost only 15 units so the wizard was still mumbling and waving. The castle soon exploded in  colourful clouds of blue and green and there were loud cries of delight and chortling, barking and fighting from the chaotic crowd in front of the castle.

    ----------------------------------

    On the whole the rules worked well though we needed better names for unit types as well as some magic and monsters. Tge question of characters and command control are still up in the air. The command and control is especially problematic since the game ran well without any including the occasional blunder, units not moving, or the wrong ones,  open flanks etc. With 3 players and roughly 3 dozen units aside, the game ran about 2 hours. Clearly room for more rules & complications or more figures though a more complex scenario might help. A three hour game would be fine.

    My next step will be to move more figures to 60cm square bases and play a small skirmish.

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

    On the Border

    A person might ask why I need to refurbish old 25mm armies for Fantasy/Shock games if I have 40mm armies that would serve if I just added a few monsters and magicians, and it would be a good question.

    For those who missed it, the armies are enumerated in the captions of the last post. The basic progress of the battle can be followed in the following pictures and their captions.
    The opposing missile troops meet as the English advance. Losses are heavy on both sides but the Franco-Scots army gets the worst of it in the centre and near the western flank, largely because the attackers got first shot and rolled high.
    Once again, on the whole this was a fast paced, exciting game with a few twists of fortune and some lessons in game tactics. The dice made a difference here and there but command decisions usually trumped them, in part because there were so many die rolls that they almost couldn't help levelling out.  On the 3rd to last turn the Scots looked to be down and out but by the end of the following turn they rocked the English back, taking the advantage with a rash but necessary counter attack. Indeed the Scots almost won it on their half of the last turn but the dice weren't there to back up their gamble and the English came back both strong and lucky for a decisive, come back, win.

    The first moral was that Morschauser was right to warn that upping the percentage of missile troops would upset the balance of the game. They are deadly especially since the attacker can almost always get the first shot and with a move of 4 and range of 6 they can appear out of nowhere and concentrate fire in incredible fashion. This will be a problem if wanting to show the characteristics of different races and nations including those who rely on archers. 

    The second was that I forgot about my proposed pushback rule until the last turn but didn't miss it. Might have made the fighting a little less quick and deadly though. I'm undecided about the 2 melee turns, it reduced some of the advantage to not having all melees go to the death as few stands survived 2 rounds of melee. In short melee between heavy and medium troops is DEADLY. Stands die like flies. Good for a quick game but with full sized armies making my table crowded he game still lasted only about 90 minutes. I could have dragged that out a bit by being a little more cautious but not by much.

    The English have just enough missile power left to force the French Landsknechts to attack. East of the river, the Highlanders and Border Horse are driving off the opposition while the Highland archers slowly win their long distance fight with the longbowmen.  
    So why was it fun and engaging? I'm not sure. One thing might be that while results against individual stands were quick, Groups of stands took longer to deal with and since movement is fast, it was often possible to pull back or bring up reserves to change the situation giving scope for generalship on a higher level than worrying about alignment and arranging factors and modifiers.  The unpredictability of individual die rolls may also play a role. 

    The English have been driven off from across the river but they fought stubbornly and there is not enough Scots cavalry to force the river in the teeth of reinforcements. The Highlanders start fording. In the middle the English lancers have ridden over the Halbardiers but the pikes are holding their own. 
    At this point the only thing I would want to fiddle with is the missile power. If the range is reduced it will make the archers too vulnerable to cavalry charges and I don't want to start fiddling with things like 1 die for 2 figures if shooting. Instead, I think merely removing the ability of foot archers to move AND shoot will suffice. Then a defending line of archers would get first shot as the enemy approached and it would be much harder to suddenly amass a deadly barrage focussed on 1 stand by bringing up 1 stand at a time and shooting until that target is dealt with and then focussing on another.

    As the Highlanders engage piecemeal, the Franco-Scots left collapses.With the English, still 20 strong and  able to occupy part of the ridge without contest, the Franco-Scots have now lost 20 out of the original 35 and their morale is broken.
    I'm looking forward to getting together with Rob at Hiuzzah next weekend to talk this over in addition to other things. We have only touched so far on magic and monsters. Look for more refurbished 25mm games before long.

    Saturday, May 9, 2015

    A Summary for a Summery Test Game

    I haven't had a chance to get too deep into discussions over the OS Fantasy project with Rob yet but I wanted to get another test game of the basics played before leaving  for Huzzah which is next weekend. I haven't rebased enough 25mm troops yet to play a full Morschauser game with 35 stands per side, but I do have enough 60mm bases of 40mm troops: pikemen, light infantry, archers, heavy and light cavalry. Did I mention canon and arquebusiers?  Oh well close enough.


    The English Army: 10 bow/shot, 8 MI, 1 Lt Inf, 1 cannon, 5 HC, 5 MC, 5 LC.

    I've thought about the rules a bit and come up with next to  nothing to add. For example one could argue about crossbows having better armour penetration but slower rate of fire and so on but the balance of simple but deadly rules is delicate. In any event, I thought I would prepare a summary for myself.

    Mostly Morschauser Shock Rules Test 5
    Quick Reference 
    1. Play Sequence. Alternate turns.
      1. Resolve continuing melees.
      2. Active player moves and shoots units in any order
      3. Resolve all melees
    2. Movement. In base wide increments.
      Hvy Inf, Med Inf  3, Lt Infantry, Archers 4, Heavy Cavalry 5, Light & Medium Cavalry 6, Artillery 1
      Stop when entering a ford.  Only Light Infantry and archers allowed in woods or on steep hills.
      Units may turn or move sideways as desired unless engaged or attacking but no part of stand may move more than move allowance.
      If 2+ Pike units turn back to back they form square instead of moving. Then then have no flank but may not move. 
    3. Engagement Range. If a unit is within range 1 of the enemy it is engaged. Moving to engagement range is an attack. When moving within range 1  of enemy a must halt or move to contact an enemy. If starting within 1 of enemy must halt, move to contact or retreat.
    4. Shooting. May then shoot then move or move then shoot but may not shoot then move into engagement range. Roll 1 die per remaining strength point.
      1. Range: Archers 6, Mtd Archers 4. 
      2. Effect: Each 6 hits Heavy or in cover,  5,6 hits all others. 
      3. Artillery: Range 12 hit on 2,4,6, range 6 hit on any but 6.
      4. Limits. Must have line of sight. May not shoot if fording. May not shoot if self or target is engaged. 
    5. Melee. If in contact both sides roll during each melee phase. Roll 1 die per remaining strength point Roll Melee Power or less to hit. Front/flank values. 
      1. HC 5/3, MC 4/2, LC 3/2 
      2. HI 4/2, MI 4/2, Pikemen 4/1,  LI 3/1, Archers 2/1 
      3. Modifiers: to power but never less than 1
        1. -1 to power if attacking uphill or out of stream
        2. -1 to power  if enemy is heavy or in cover or if cavalry fighting pikes frontally.
      4. Result. If neither destroyed a unit that took more hits than it gave will retreat 1 length. 
    6. Strength Points. All units start with 4 strength points except artillery which have only 2. When all are gone the stand is removed.
    7. Commanders. Form part of unit. Commander rolls extra die in melee. Commander will be last man killed on stand. If commander killed all units roll 1 die. 5,6 carry on, 3,4 retreat a full move, 1,2 Rout.
    8. Army Morale. When an army has lost 1/2 of its units it may no longer shoot or attack or move into contact.
    FrancoScots: 12 pike, 3 MI, 4 LtI, 9 bow/shot, 2 cannon, 5 LC


    Game Report and comments next Post.