Monday, December 11, 2017

The affair of Na dallag naomh

It was a frosty December morning when the Earl of Cowcross gave the order to begin the march home.

Cuan na Banrigh
The Queen's Hound, armed with a sharp, heavy axe and protected by enchanted tattoos and the Witch's Brew

The trip to the secret cave holding the sacred Dallag, whose power was said to hold together the alliance of the People of the  Woods and the Men of the Valleys, had been easy. Too easy  really, and the Earl suspected that the enemy would not let them go as easily.
The march begins. The mounted Foresters with their latches leading the way. The Spearmen on the right are carrying the Chest said to contain the sacred relic. 
It took a bit of time to get the troops moving and the enemy was in view before any but the Foresters had  started on the road home. Fortunately the enemy was just as slow to gather.

Some enemy horsemen showed behind his right so the Earl sent his Lances to see them off and they did so in short order. But the enemy rallied not far away as an unnatural mist rolled out of a small wood heading for the Lancers. As the mist rolled over them there was suddenly a ferocious battle cry followed by the screams of men and horses and a stream of bloodied men and horses fled past the Earl  and disappeared up a mountain glen from which none ever returned.

Cuan na Banrigh, hidden in a magical mist, routs the Midlandish cavalry. 
With the Blood Lust upon him, Cuan rushed through the wood and assaulted the Earl's archers who had been sending flights of arrows in amongst the Old Ones, protected only by their tattoos, plaid cloaks and the trees of the forest.  The archers were of sterner stuff than the lancers though and gave hard  strokes before falling back.

The mounted crossbows spurred ahead to seize and hold the  clearing along the road home.  Out of the  woods sprang a fresh band of wild tribesmen and despite boldly defending themselves, the horsemen were forced to fallback only to be ambushed again and scattered to the winds.
A Raven's eye view of the battle field. The Midlandish forces are down to the Earl's Household and 2 Schiltrons. The West Folk have not lost any units.
No sooner had this disaster struck the Midlandish forces when Cuan struck again, scattering the remaining archers. By now the lead schiltron had drawn near to the final patch of the woods and the Queen and her picked companions could no longer control their bloodlust. Like furies they threw themselves onto the sharp spears of their enemy and drove them back.

Unable to resist the urge to draw blood the Queen's Guard drives the Midlandish spearmen back. 
The Earl decided it was time to lay aside the mantle of command and let himself be a just a Knight. Leading his household companions  forward he dashed into unit after unit of savage warriors, bloodied and tired, they had no answer but to melt back into the woods. Then the Queen stood against him but once again good steel and years of disciplined training at arms was more than a match for the fury of wild beasts and desperate warriors. Unable to come near the Earl and with her devoted Lioness wounded, she called her warriors back into the woods and they faded away leaving the scouts to trail the enemy.
The Earl glares at the enemy scouts as his last unit of spearmen lugs the sacred chest to safety.
(Note: The Clerics and Wisemen of the Midlands will soon be analyzing  the armies and the battle and a summary of their debates will be presented here.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Skirmish on the Border

On that July morning when war came again to the Federation of the Freefolk, it came like a thunderstorm with the flash of polished steel and the thunder of horses hooves.

The Captain of the Pass sent his mounted crossbowmen forth to clear the way while the heavy cavalry flanked by archers formed ranks and steadily advanced. Below them, the garrison of mercenary goblin archers stood to their posts while the outriders strung their bows and galloped towards the enemy. In the village men rushed to arms and struggled to form the shieldwall hoping against hope that help from either Lord Bedewyr or their Valdurian neighbours would arrive in time.
Lord Bedewyr and his household knights.
Minifigs originally painted in 1974 Northern Gaul, Southron and Rohirrim, touched up and remounted but not yet reflocked
Word soon came that both the Lord and the Valdurians were already nigh at hand and before expected they could be seen forming for battle. For long however, the Valdurian horsemen seemed to be merely watching from afar. Around the fort and village, arrows flashed back and forth with the outnumbered defenders getting by far the worst of it. Midlish light horse began working around the flank and the townfolk fell back to draw the enemy forward then turned and charged to close quarters.

Halfway through the day it looked like the veteran Midlish  troops would sweep the field while the Valdurian light horse looked on from the far table edge. 

On the far side of the fort Lord Bedwyr had arrived and led his household against the Midlish knights. Blood was spilled and much honour was won but neither side had the advantage.

Behind the Midlish line Sir John, the Captain of the Pass, watched and waited to see if the Valdurians would intervene before leading his heavily armoured Black Company forward to finish the villagers. At last he gave the signal and the ground trembled as the armoured horsemen urged their horse into a walk and then a slow trot.

As so often in legends of the past, a flank charge by the Valdurian cavalry swept the field.

Suddenly, the Valdurians must have seen what they were waiting for, in the blink of an eye they galloped forward and swept away the surprised mounted crossbows then pursued forward into the flank of the Midlish archers who were caught while already at hand strokes with the farmers. It was done!

There was nothing left for Sir John but to recall his cavalry and cover the retreat of the fugitives towards the pass. If the rumours of impending war were true, his rash strike would seem likely to have fanned the flames of war rather than smother then.

Heroes of the day!
(MInifig Ancient British cavalry painted back in '74 refurbished and rehorsed along with Garrison Saxons, a few from c'75/'76, the rest recent replacements.)

(Notes: The attacking force consisted of 1 Heavy Shock Cavalry, 3 Shock Cavalry, 2 Cavalry with Crossbows, 4 archers. The defenders on table consisted of 1 archer and 2 Light Horse Archer in the fort and 2 Shock Infantry and 1 Archer in the town. Reinforcements dicing to arrive needing score equal to the turn were General with 2 Shock Cavalry and 2 light Shock Cavalry . The rules published 2 posts ago were updated before then game then again after the game to reflect the game as played. The game itself took about an hour to play. Next step, paint and base! paint and Base! We need more men!....and more games!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Riders in the Pass! Light the Beacon!

When rumours of a new host gathering north of the mountains, Sir John Ravenswood, Captain of the Tower, sent word to the Earl, gathered such men as were at hand, and rode north to disperse them.

The Beacon is lit! Will anyone answer in time?

As the first Midlish scouts hove in view,  the mercenaries manning the border post at  Dunbeag blew the Horn and lit the Beacon to summon aid

Monday, July 24, 2017

Clearing Away the Cobwebs. (amended 26 Jul 2017)

As I prepared to dust off my Medieval/Fantasy forces, I started picturing an Old School game with traditional multi-stand units but then......well, then I looked at the shelf and was reminded that in 2015 I had rebased the figures as small single stand units that could be grouped temporarily.

OK that works too and I already have some table ready forces so I looked at the rules from 2015 and updated them.

2015 Ambush game.
Back of a Post(card) Rules.
(Note: Before the game set up I decided I'd rather use my brightly painted 6cm increment sticks than have to peer at inches on a tape and didn't really want to roll dice for movement after all. During the game I decided that melee needed to be clarified and made less deadly. This result is this summary of how the game was actually played.)

Groups. A Group is 1 stand or multiple stands which are touching and aligned.

Measuring. All measuring is in terms of lengths which are anything that works for you.  I usually use 3" with my 25's on 60mm bases.

Initiative. Draw a card each turn to see who goes first. Include chance cards if desired.

Sequence. Active side moves and/or shoots all units then resolves melee group by group.

Command. If group is not within 6 lengths of Commander must roll:
5,6 obey orders, 3,4 1/2 move no charge unless shock troops, 1,2 No Move.  -1 if Levy +1 If Elite/Veteran

  • 2 lengths  for Infantry, Artillery or Wagons, 3 lengths for Light Infantry, Great Beasts or Heavy Cavalry, 4 lengths for Cavalry, 5 lengths for Light Cavalry.  
  • Charge to front only. A stand may not shoot and charge.
  • Single stands may move any direction and change facing. Groups may only wheel unless drilled.
  • Group within 1 length of front of enemy may only move towards it or retreat away from it. 
  • To form or reform a group, a designated guide stand must stand still. Pikes can form square if they don't move.
  • Woods etc lose 1 length if Infantry, 2 if any mounted. 
  • Skirmishers may move through others, cavalry may move through freindly skirmishers. 

Missile Fire.

  • Target must be to front except horse archers may fire to rear. 45 degree arc either side of ahead.
  • Shoot once per turn
  • Archers shoot 2 dice at 4  lengths if they do not move that turn, 
  • Horse Archers and Skirmishers may shoot 1 die at 2 lengths then move,
  • Artillery shoot 1 die at 8 lengths if they do not move that turn and are deployed. Takes a whole move to deploy or pack up mobile artillery.  
  • 5,6 hits Owner of group chooses where to put hit.
    +1 if artillery
    -1 vs cover or heavy. 
  • Stands in contact roll vs enemy in contact with front. Hits go on opposing stand in contact. 
  • Roll 2 dice per stand 
  • add 1 die for each overlapping friend not itself in contact
  • add 1 die if shock troops charging or if any pursuing
  • lose 1 die if any but light infantry and skirmishers are in or charged through woods or over an  obstacle.
  • Each 5,6 hits
  • -1 per die vs enemy who is heavy or in cover or is spearmen being attacked from the front
  • +1 per die vs skirmishers or light 
  • Commander in contact rolls extra die but 1=wounded. Roll again 1=dead o/w out of action 1 turn.
After Melee.
  • Remove destroyed stands.
  • A stand still in contact that took more hits than it inflicted will recoil 1 length unless blocked. The opposing stand may follow up if they charged this player turn and must do so if Impetuous. 
  • Strength. Hits are a mix of casualties, fatigue, fear etc. When a stand has taken as many hits as its strength it is removed. Light infantry and all Cavalry take 3 hits, other Infantry take 4 hits. 
       +1 hit if Heavy
       +1 hit if Elite/Veteran
       -1 hit if levy.
  • Rally. A Stand with 2 or more hits which is not within bow shot of enemy may Rally instead of moving. Roll 1 die 5,6 recovers 1 hit.
  • Commander Morale. Army losing 1/2 stands concedes unless scenario overrules. Scenario Objectives may be used to boost morale.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Earl will take the field!

As noted previously on my Game of the Month Blog, the proposed 40mm version of my Gathering of Hosts campaign has been officially binned. The Elastolins will be freed from their bases and go back to their proper place in Prince Valiant inspired  skirmishes.

The Earl of Cowcross will take the field again.
I'm also going to roll the rules back to multi-stand units rather than adhoc groups of individual elements. Might even put it back on the grid..........

Hopefully a game before the end of the month. Its been hot here, I'd like to feel the North Wind finally blow across my table.

The Northern Barbarians, do they really exist or are they the stuff of old folk tales?

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Man with Two Blogs is Never Sure

It was clear enough when I started this blog, it was about building the armies for a particular not precisely historical campaign. It has wandered a bit since then from everything pre horse and musket to nothing at all but as I continue to shrink my collections (they aren't projects since they have neither an endpoint, other than death or disability, nor a plan to get there.) I am once again dedicating this blog to just things relating to my fantasy/early medieval Kingdoms of the Five Winds setting. (Why 5 not 4? One day I may have an answer.)

Which still begs the question of whether this Portable Ancient Wargame test game using my Elastolin armies of the Five Kingdoms should have​ been posted here or not. Anyway if you like the Elastolins please check it out there!

Monday, March 20, 2017

De-radicalizing the Hosts

For a while now I've noted that my medieval/Renaissance troops rarely get off the shelf. I've been hoping that it was purely due to other commitments but at last as Huzzah approaches, I've had to admit to myself that, deep down, I'm not really happy with the way the rules have gone with generic everything, no units, vague, clinical language and so on.

Somewhere in France c1544.

So, after a single turn of a test game, I decided to stop and start over with something more conventional. Something with units  but with the old Rough Wooing variable moves and combat dice per stand.  The draft rules need a bit of work before posting, filling in blanks etc but the ensuing game was fun and felt right.

The fighting begins in earnest. 
(Which is to say before I kept forgetting to take pictures.)

Felt like another actually! I'll have another test game played and the rules posted by the weekend and hopefully a battle report.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Coming Soon, a new adventure

All is quiet at home. What is a Warrior Prince to do? 
Duke Stephen leads a British force to save the stronghold of Bellemont and meets an old enemy!
At last the call comes! Rome has been assailed by the hordes of Attla! Who will come to her aid?