Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Blaug The Terrible

With eyes blazing, nostrils smoking, it is ...Blaug The Terrible! Terror of the toy shelf! 
uhh what? Oh! I see, Blaug the Terrible Blue Vinyl Toy Dragon. 
Yeah, try as he might Blaug is never going to be anything other than a repainted vinyl cartoon toy dragon with a pot belly and vestigial wings but what the heck. He's one of the few toys I have ever been given by my wife, I think it was meant 1/2 as a joke but.... anyway I felt the need for a dragon option and figured that twelve years of lurking on the shelf was enough.  At least he looks better in green than he did in bright blue with yellow and orange highlights with a tiny red tongue sticking out. Probably meant to be fire but it was hard to tell for sure.

HA! ooh! Hehe Hey Guys! Stop! That tickles!
(4cm Elastolin figures)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Hun is at the Bridge

OK its not Monday but you never know when the plague will hit. Today I am able to sit up again and feel like I might live out the week after all.

Once again I find myself apologizing for the quality of the photos. Neither the added light, cleaning the lens, trying to get the tripod at a usable height nor playing with settings helped. Seems unlikely that the camera would forget how it used to do it so it must be me or the environment. Back to the drawing board. Luckily a score or more of poor and unusable digital photos cost nothing but time and helpfully they will at least give some sense of the flow of the game.

Given the toy soldier level of accuracy of the Elastolin 4cm figures and the variety of periods represented I was tempted to set the game in a fantasy setting but will settle for a Comic Book Gaul while resisting the temptation to do the footwork to turn this into a Prince Michael scenario. There are essentially 4 armies involved including the allies on either side. This represents just over 1/2 the total available for the final battle.

Somewhere around Turn 6 The Barbarian allies  have arrived and an advance party of Huns has crossed the river and forced the Romans to redeploy unit after unit away from the bridge to block them.  Casualties from missile fire have been fairly high. The little strips of road on the river indicate fords.   

Defending. The Romans. Under the Overall General Aentithus:  6 heavy infantry, 2 archers, 1 light shock cavalry. Off table Allied reinforcements under their Captain: Deeahdeer. 5 units of heavy shock cavalry (knights). The Romans stopped at the farm and after collecting taxes inquired about fords along the river and were told there were none.

Attacking. The Huns under King Akala: 3 elite light cavalry horse archers, 3 horse archers and 3 allied light shock cavalry under their very minor and forgettable chieftain. Off table was a body of Barbarian Allies (Vikings mostly)  under their Captain said to be the reknown Helgin himself, along with 8 shock light infantry and 2 archer units. Not having inside info the Huns were allowed to search for fords one base width at a time with a 5,6 indicating a fordable spot. Apparently the river was low because they found more than they could use.

Cue dramatic music and some caustic comments by the farmer's wife. (A Prince August viking homecast and the only non-Elastolin on the table) as the Cavalry rides on to the rescue. Sort of. 
Once the Romans had been drawn left the Huns suddenly rode farther to their left to outflank the bridge guard leaving the allied light cavalry to pin them until the Barbarian Horde could wade the river and engage. Of course if these hadn't kept failing their out of command roll a different approach might have been used. 

The Romans were having to scramble and counter march with their poor cavalry pelting from flank to flank several times but their allies rolled low and arrived in the nick of time. The Barbarians had to rush their attack, leaving a few units behind in the river to follow at best speed while the formed battleline attacked. 

Moments before the big clash. 
The infantry battle was epic with much carnage and with reserves well needed to pulg the gaps that appeared. The heavy cavalry charge was somewhat less epic and between arrows and melee the lighter enemy did more damage than they took. The charge of the 2nd group to arrive went slightly better but with 12 of 15 turns played I wasn't sure that the Romans could hold out until the end let alone drive the Huns back over the river. 

Since they were losing the arrow battle across the river on the other flank the Romans advanced a unit of heavy infantry across the river to force the horse archers back. The light cavalry were moved up to support them against the threat of encirclement but it felt like a risky move. 

Then it happened. The allied Barbarian chief went down!
While the cavalry struggled, the Roman infantry in their armour pushed forward hacking at the barbarians and eventually the barbarian chieftain's bodyguard went down. This called for a morale check of all of his followers within reach. six units. One warband rolled a 5 and stood, one archer rolled a 3 and fellback in good order, and four, (count'em: four!) units rolled 1's or 2's and fled the field in despair at the fall of their hero.  This put the Hun army at 1 less than its break point and a general advance on the next turn took them over it.

The world was saved for another week at least!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A New Host Gathers

This post is largely a repeat of today's post on my Battle Game of the Month blog. For those who don't follow that blog, I recently took delivery of a big box full of veteran ancient and medieval Elastolin 4cm figures. Enough figures that I can pursue a Gathering of Hosts fantasy campaign using them. Today I played a test game.

Somewhere in Gaul a detachment of Roman frontier infantry found themselves rousted from their nice warm quarters and marched off to a bridge which stood in between the walled city of Nulpartium and a Gathering Horde of Barbarians.
A Horde of Huns approaches at a mad gallop. Elastolin 4cm Huns. 
Since I was thinking about rules anyway and Rob and I still haven't had time to discuss more detail on what is wanted for the planned co-hosted fantasy massed battle game tentatively scheduled for Fall In, I opened the box. Recent games crossed with this week's putterings led me to make one big change and some small ones. The big change was to go back to a more Featherstonian play sequence with initiative then A moves, B moves, both shoot and both melee. The small change was largely a matter of adjusting combat details to make them less fussy after the last set of games. The updated minimalist rules summary can be found here. (click)
More Elastolin 4cm figures, Romans this time. Both pictures are a mix of my existing collection and some of the new-to-me veterans. Any multiple bases are temporary. Still stymied by the continuing fuzzies but looks like some of the battle shots may be better.
That's it for today. A brief battle report of the overall best Gathering of Hosts game yet will appear on the Gathering of Hosts blog tomorrow. Then, win or lose, the Huns will move on to the siege of Nulpartium.