Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Bet you weren't expecting this to appear on Gathering of Hosts:

A few years ago this vignette was one of several RAFM sets that I couldn't resist as long as I was ordering... something or other. Now they are painted.

Haven't decided yet if they should be gloss varnished and added to the People of the Forests host or not.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Dragon Host in Battle

As I feared, after 2 multi-player games and having watched a multi-player Viking vs Saxon  Lion Rampant game, the rules weren't as bad as they appeared in my solo games. I'm not tempted to adopt them but I'd be willing to play if the occasion presented itself.

My Men of the Sea gave a good account of themselves but the poor Black Cauldron force were pushed aside and demolished by heavy cavalry on both games. Their deadliest enemy!

Right!  1/72nd fantasy interlude over, time to brush the dust off some 25mm's.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Magic Cauldron is no match for a Good Blade

Today I took a short break to blood my 1/72nd Dragon Rampant armies.

Given that I'm  still pretty green at this, I just did an equal points encounter on random ground. A toss of the die indicated that the Lord of the Black Cauldron was the Attacker. He himself was rated as an Elite Foot Minor Magic user with the Dragon's Breath, Heal Thyself (aka "back in the cauldron buddy") and Befuddle them spells. His army consisted of a unit of Scouts, a unit of Heavy Horse, a unit of Bellicose foot (led by a Chieftain in a chariot)  and a unit of undead Cauldron warriors, Bellicose foot (which I just realized were supposed to be Elite foot, slow and reluctant to die. Damn!). Their plan was to send the cavalry forward up the right with an attack en echelon while the magician used dragon's breath to protect his army from catapult fire until they got into range.

The enemy under the Sea King, himself Heavy foot, were the men of the sea with a unit of scouts, a unit of Giants (Elite Foot), 2 units of light spearmen with short range missiles and a catapult (Heavy Missiles). Their plan was to make as tight a shieldwall as possible while pounding the enemy with BIG rocks.

About turn 4, just before I realized that I'd forgotten the 3 inch "no go" zone around each unit. No wonder the armies were so hesitant to advance! All of the Celts have advanced at least once in 4 turns while only 2 of the Saxon types have.
After a shaky start the armies started to get together. The magician's first attempt at Dragon's breath was a small puff of mist which didn't stop the catapult from nailing a few zombies. The second attempt was better but the Zombies were already dashing ahead full speed regardless.

The Giants and their little friends see off the first wave of Cauldron warriors.

The wild tribesmen rushed in and then rushed back out even faster, those Giants are TOUGH!   A second attack by the Zombies ended with the last standing giant sending the last standing Zombie running back to the Cauldron to jump in and hide. Apparently even fearless undead aren't happy with a morale result of -4.
With 2 units out of it, it was the cavalry's turn and after all, this was only a handful of light foot, what had they been baulking at? The spearpoints and Shieldwall apparently. After handily repelling the cavalry charge  the spearmen followed up with a barrage of javelins and arrows at the retreating cavalry and the game was over.

So there we are. I think I am starting to get a handle on these silly rules and can see how some one well versed in the system could develop various valid game tactics (as opposed to ones inspired  by either fiction or history).

My 2nd star of the game (after the Giants). It rattled the Wizard a little by squashing one of his acolytes and squished a few zombies in between attacks thus hastening their return to the nether world.
The catapult came with my Marx Knights and Vikings set and with a new elastic in place showed itself still capable of throwing a missile across the room.

Luckily, after next Saturday's game, which I hope is exciting and fun for all who take part, it won't be any of my business!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Small Dragons Rampant

Rob  (Sharp End of the Brush blog) will be running a multi-player 1/72nd Dragon Rampant event at Huzzah and I have agreed to bring 2 armies and be assistant GM.

Today I flocked the last of the new additions that were needed and I'm ready to go.

The first army is based around a box of Ancient Britons picked up on a nostalgic whim a decade ago. The Cauldron part was inspired by a child's book I read 45 years ago crossed with the wounded Briton and a stray cauldron from a Barzso Daniel Boone set. 

Black CauldronPts
WizardElite Foot10
Spellcaster, reduced model
Cauldron WarriorsBellicose Foot8
Offensive, Shiny Armour, No feelings, Fear
Wild HuntHeavy Riders4
HillmenBellicose Foot6Shiny Shields
Hillmen with leader riding to battle in his chariot plus a unit various resurrected warriors.

Cavalry, Wizard and Scouts

The second army was based on a box of Orion Vikings that I bought around the same time because they included copies of my old 25mm painted hard plastic Marx Vikings. One of my original Marx catapults has been included on one of the stands. It'll still send a matchstick across the room!

Men of the Sea
Viking KingHeavy Foot4
shieldwall, reduced model
GiantsElite Foot6
RaidersLight Foot4
short range missiles, shieldwall
RaidersLight Foot4
short range missiles, shieldwall
Thor's ArmHeavy Missles4(catapult)
Odin's EyesScouts2

2 units of Light Foot and some Scouts.

Heavy Foot, Catapult and Giants (Elastolin 4cm)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Born in Battle

Well, it was a fierce-some battle, no doubt about it, but the Northern Federation Herdsmen are finally painted and ready to take their place in the battleline.
Here come the Herdsmen.
I was looking forward to painting these from the time I got them right up until the moment I looked at the primed figures and realized that I had no idea really who they were, how they should be dressed, and what painting techniques I should use the get the right look for what I wanted. A week later after several short, unsatisfactory  painting sessions, I was just about ready to quietly pack them away again.

Luckily I can sometimes get stubborn and after figuring out who they were and experimenting a bit, and remembering a bit, I started putting in some longer sessions and experimenting and they finally started coming together. Then it started to feel tedious with no end of little details and shading to do, and redo, so I decided to just push through and finish them.  So there are a few spots where the shading etc aren't quite what I wanted but the glossy finish helps and at arms length they have the right look and I am well satisfied. 

The Dalefolk Muster
The Northern Federation is composed of several Folk or People of which the largest are the Dalefolk who live in the open, rolling, country between the mountains and the sea. Along the rivers the bulk of the population live in small farming villages surrounded by their fields. In the uplands the land is less fertile and crops and orchards are replaced by herds of sheep, cattle and horses tended by wandering tribes of Herdsmen.

By tradition, these farmers and herders are Freemen beholden to none but each other, abiding by the laws adopted by the people  themselves and serving in arms when the people are threatened. However, long years of war saw the rise of powerful Lords, each with his band of armoured horsemen,  and now most Freemen swear fealty to one of these Lords and pay taxes to help maintain him and his horsemen in his stronghold perched on its hilltop while the Lords in turn swear allegiance to a High King. In return, the King and Lords  defend the borders and enforce the laws and it is only in times of National Crisis that the Freemen take up shield and spear, axe or bow and march to war.

and there they go.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Another Gathering of Horse Archers

Bow and spear armed light cavalry were a staple feature of the old Valdurian army. They featured as far back as the first recorded battle.

New Recruits in Training - 25mm Garrison Hyrkanians.

It comes as no surprise then that the cavalry heavy armies of the Northern Confederation which included Steppe tribes as well as  Valdurians, also featured horse archers.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dragon Wagons

The game has been fought!
As the convoy winds its way forward the Huns appear to block the Eastern road. The artillery in the fort, having run out of Greek Fire (Magical weapon) opens up with rocks. All game long the Hun levy infantry  didn't care for that as shown by the number of morale rolls of 3 or 4 when hit! 
After much thought I decided that I needed two house rules.

1. Third time lucky. If the 1st unit fails its activation, it is done but a 2nd unit may try. If it fails, it is done but a 3rd unit may try. If it fails then the player's turn is over. Once one unit has been activated, the first failure ends the player turn.

2. Love your friends. The 3" rule for enemy holds but units may move as close as 1" to friends. A unit moving to contact an enemy may not ride through one units 3" zone to attack a unit farther away but it can attack the closest enemy or the middle of a line of units even if this violates the 3" rule for a unit farther away or to the side of the target.

Both rules helped ALOT! Mind you I still had a couple of player turns where no one activated. Not many though.

For the first few turns the Goth's catapult was their only unit showing. A charge by the Duke drove it back into the woods where he left it but by the time he met the King of the Goths most of his bodyguard had been crushed by comic book rocks. 
With 4 factions, I made a deck with 4 cards, one for each faction, and  pulled cards each turn to determine the sequence. That worked well.

I made the  wagons into 3 "units" of 2 stands each and allowed each to move with a unit which was touching it. The unit was assumed to be spread up and down the line so any attack   on the wagons was an attack on the escort.
The Roman cavalry has sallied forth but not in time to prevent the Duke from being wounded by the Goth King.
The game lasted longer than I expected and was full of incidents and reversals of the sort that make for good stories so that worked. The combat was also OK and the more generous activation worked well. Not sure the game would have worked for me without it.
Many turns later, the Huns have fled, beaten  by the hails of arrows from the Roman catapult, the Clibinari and the British Scouts. Four wagons have fled for safety to the fort but two were still in danger. Prince Micheal routed one band of Goths but was grieviously wounded. A hail of arrows from the remnant of the Roman Clibinari routed the wild  Rugi and slew the Goth King. Heroes of the day! The arrows from these brave horsemen routed 6 units in all plus, indirectly, the Hun King and slew the Goth King. Only the British scouts came near them.
Conclusions? This should work for a convention game. Would I use it at home afterwards? Maybe but probably not, I suspect its a better game against a live opponent. So should I go back to home rules for the convention? or stick with the plan?

I'm undecided.

I am decided on restoring the bases though and the 2 stand units will stay! (for battles, not Prince Valiant skirmishes)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Prince Valiant and The Relief of Castle Rampant (1)

Having played a first test game of Dragon Rampant, I figured it was time to try it with the Prince Valiant Elastolins.

Having recently de-based the figures the obvious course of action was to make up 6 and 12 figure units as per the rules. It didn't take long to figure out that eight 24 pt armies were going to call for something like 90 cavalry and  240 foot. I might be able to fill that roster if I get busy gluing and painting, and maybe cast up a few Prince August Vikings, but I don't really want to and that is A LOT of loose Elastolins bouncing around far from home.

Luckily I kept the bases and if this test game works it won't take much to restore them. I have trees that need washer bases anyway. The plan is to use 2 bases for each unit, 2 cavalry or scouts or 4 infantry per base with little dice to track hits. 
What the game might look like if no Huns show up.
I find it helpful to try new rules with a familiar scenario to see how the two mesh. Since I've been pondering a larger, more complex, multiplayer castle relief setting for the Huzzah game, I decided to try CS Grant's Wagon Train scenario from scenarios for wargames.

It seemed unlikely that the list of Grant units would smoothly translate into four commands each of 24 points so I wasn't really surprised when it did. I'm used to the unlikely happening!

Here are the 24 point factions:

Roman Castle Garrison:
(only the cavalry may leave the castle)
Heavy Riders: 4 pts
Heavy Riders with Bow: 5 pts
2 Light infantry, mixed bow and spear: 10 pts
1 Catapult (Heavy Missile): 5 pts

Allied Relief Force:
Comitatus: Disciplined Elite Riders: 8 pts
Heavy Riders: 4 pts
Scouts: 2 pts
2 Offensive Light Infantry: 10 pts

Hun Attackers:
Comitatus: Elite Riders with Bow: 8 pts
2 Light Horse: 8 pts
Scouts: 2 pts
Offensive Light Infantry Javelins: 6 pts

Rugii Attackers:
Comitatus: Armoured Bellicose foot: 6
2 Offensive Light Foot: 10
2 Light Archers: 8

Now to set up some Glory Points or whatever they are called, for control of wagons, dueling etc . With multiple players I intend to let people give points to other players and strike up deals in the spirit of the times.