Tally Ho!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Kings of War - scratch built artillery

In my previous KOW games I've not used any artillery as this did not really fit with my Arabian themed army. So as I'm building my Lizardmen I spotted the option for some artillery from the Trident Realm list.

Leviathans Bane is a giant harpoon gun, so a fairly simple design. The frame is made using a spare saddle from a firedrake model with a pen barrel and a leftover spear.

I've opted for a subtle grey colour scheme, hopefully reminiscent of a cold, grey, British seaside day.

The crew are some figures from the mists of time - Citadel AD&D Sea Devils from the 80's, but they look the part.


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

ACW Campaign - week 1

This week sees a bumper crop of posts as I've played several games recently. This Monday we started our ACW campaign using the Longstreet rules. The unique point of these rules is the heavy use of a deck of activation cards to drive the game and some of the key decisions.

In Longstreet the cards can be used in one of three ways:
  • Any card can be spent to shoot, move, or charge (but not both move and charge)
  • A card can be used to mitigate casulultiers (usually 1 or 2 per card) 
  • It can be used for its special effect on shooting, combat, or moving etc
You can only hold a limited number and when all your cards are spent you loose the game. So lots of choices to make and management needed of your resources as the battle progresses.

For this campaign we are using some classic/ retro "true 25mm" figures owned Roy. Some rapid measuring shows they are in fact an inch from base-bottom to hat top.

The Battle

Game 1 was a simple attack vs defence, with the Union holding one objective and deployed near a second. The Confederate aim was to seize both the objectives.  Both sides had 4 regiments of Eager Recruits (8 stands), 3 guns, and an Eager Recruit cavalry regiment (6 stands). I found myself in the unfamiliar role of Union commander, having mostly fought Fire & Fury as a Reb.

The Confederates attacked towards both Union-held objectives with 2 regiments each. Their left was the stronger attack as this had support from the artillery and cavalry. The presence of a pesky wood placed there during deployment forced them to attack in depth though.  

Rebs attack on their left

Attack on the Rebs right

As the Rebs moved forward, the Union fanned out to cover both objectives and rolled-up the guns. The cavalry reserve was deployed in the centre to link the two groups of infantry. A very neat looking defensive position.  

Union seizes the second objective

Union lines looking well set

As the Rebs tried to line-up for their assault the Union played a few cards that hampered their attempts to coordinate the attack. A previously unseen marshy area appeared before some of the infantry and confusion over orders lead to the Confederate cavalry not attacking as hoped.

Rebel cavalry stalls in confusion

Missed that on google maps

The wavering Confederates then came under heavy and sustained fire from the Union defensive line. On the left a regiment was rapidly reduced to 30% strength and the supporting unit badly damaged as it  moved through to continue the attack. On the right both attacking regiments took damage and paused to draw breath.

Reb advance takes heavy casualties

Union left - nice looking firing line

Rebs second wave on the left

As the firefight continued the Rebs reached their army break point (21 stands lost from 42) and so a Union victory was declared.

Union right looks strong

Union left looks good too

With the game won we then move into the post battle phase where units are upgraded and reinforcements received. The Rebs did jolly well in this phase with most of the losses restored to the ranks. A bad outbreak of the pox (rolling lots of 1's for attrition) actually left the Union the smaller army, but strongly augmented with additional 4 artillery.

Image result for longstreet rules

Monday, 11 June 2018

First Crusade - Byzantine allies part duo

Just a very short update this time on some painting progress. I've now completed my Byzantine allied cavalry  for the first crusade. I can now field a couple of units of heavy cavalry and a general. I still left to complete are a few units of supporting infantry and I'm all set for some crusading action later in the year.

General and standard bearer

All figures are Gripping Beast with flags from LittleBigMan. They were good fun to paint so I may be tempted to expand on the army in time.

Heavy cavalry

Completed force
I have a few spares amongst the infantry, so will be able to base some spares for use with Saga or similar games.  

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Saga Irish Warband - the first outing

This weekend saw me in Fishponds for my first outing with my newest army - Saga V2 Irish. 

The Warband

Irish Warband

For this game I chose a balanced warband which would exploit the many shooting-based abilities within the Irish battle board:
  • 1 x Warlord (javelins)
  • 2 x Curaidh champions (javelins)
  • 2 x 4 Fianna heard guards (javelins)
  • 2 x 8 Bonnacht warriors (javelins)
  • 1 x 12 Kerns levy (javelins)   

With 3 heroes this list should enjoy play of free activations from The Old Ways ability and would generate 6 Saga Dice.    

Warlord and Curaidh

The Scenario

The battle was a simple one - both sides had a treasury to defend in their own half whilst simultaneously looking to attack one in their opponents half. The terrain dice were helpful to the Irish with wooded areas near both treasures offering the chance of Sons of Dana ambush shooting from the cover.
My defenders

Assault force

I deployed with my warlord, 2 units of Bonnacht warriors and a Curaidh guarding my treasury. Attacking the enemy were 2 units of Fianna hearth guards and a Curaidh with a unit of Kern levies in support. My hope was to sneak the Kerns into cover opposite the enemy treasury whilst striking with the Fianna.

The Rus deployed with 3 units of 10*warriors and a Warlord attacking me and 1 unit of 10* warriors supported by a unit of 4*hearth guards protecting their treasury. The Rus have lots of defence tricks and an attack mode that relies on manipulation of their armour value to generate additional melee dice, but have no ranged attacks.  

The Battle

The battle began with a swift advance by both sides attacking forces. Fear of an ambush for the rough ground led the Rus attackers to compress their frontage and attack in a deep formation. Sensing a chance for a flank attack I switch my Kerns across the field and left the Fianna alone to attack the enemy.

Rus attack with flanking Kerns

As the Rus advanced I sensed a chance to attack the enemy in detail and so pushed forward with my defenders to pelt them with Javelins. Combined fire from the Kerns, Bonnacht, and Curaidh was enough to severely damage the leading Rus unit. The Sidhe ability allowed the Curaidh to sacrifice his own shooting to enhance the others          

Leading Rus units takes some hurt
On the right my Fianna advanced to towards the treasury. A Rus warriors counter attack was repulsed, leaving them largely inactive for the remainder of the game as I subjected them to a steady rain of javelins.

Fianna volley away

Second Rus unit scatters the Kerns

As a second Rus warrior unit crested the rise they too were met with a volley of javelins from the waiting Irish, which quickly routed them from the field. They did however badly maul the Kerns and render them ineffective.       

Second Rus unit takes heavy fire 
As the third Rus warrior unit attacked it too was subjected to deadly fire from the Irish units, while their comrades guarding the treasury were slowly whittled away by the Fianna. With the Rus warlord surrounded and fully fatigued, the game was called for the Irish.    

Third unit into the jaws

Fianna still chipping away

The end is neigh

The Verdict 

Its hard to tell much from a single game against a specific opponent but the following impressions occurred to me:
 1. The Rus had some bad luck at a key moment where they could not activate any warrior units for a turn.
2. Three heroes and The Old Ways ability gives the Irish a good chance to active most of the army every turn. This was vital as the Rus have the ability to shut-down one of your attacks but not multiple ones.
3. The army is nowhere near as terrain dependent as in Saga V1. The key is focused shooting and use of abilities like Sidhe to allow the weaker units to support the stronger ones.     

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Aramti Pyrrhic Wars - Beneventum 275 BC

Following an unsuccessful campaign in Sicily, Pyrrhus returned to Italy to once again challenge the might of Rome. Attacking towards Roman territory he found his way blocked by Consul Manius at the head of several legions. Pyrrhus attempted a night attack against the Roman camp but his troops became lost and ended-up fighting Manius in an open plan flanked by wooded hills.

In this battle the Romans had a fortified camp for additional support. We treated this as an area of difficult terrain. The occupants (two SI with Javelins and two SI as Crossbows - the artillery) each counts as a separate light division while within the camp.

The Pyrrhic army was of the "classic" type - lots of pike phalanx supported by 3 units of cavalry, some lights and a unit of elephants. The cavalry and lights split between the wings, with the elephants in the centre in the hopes of disrupting the Romans.

Pyrrhic left

Pyrrhic centre - elephants to the fore 

Pyrrhic right with the Companions in reserve

The Romans deployed a solid mass of infantry immediately in front of the fortified camp. Their left contained all the cavalry with support from slingers and the Spanish LHI. The right was held by the Triarii and several units of Velites.

Roman left with the massed mounted

Roman centre and left

Roman right with the Triarii 
For this game I had a rare chance to breakout my Roman marching camp. This is scratch built from artist mounting board with the facing from a sand/paint mix.  It was not expected to play much of a role in the game but did break-up the board.

Romans defending the camp 

Camp's eye view of the action
Having deployed with a heavily weighted left the Romans advanced rapidly against the Successor right, hoping to flank them before the phalanx could reach the Roman main lines. The Successors looked to counter with the Companions and elite pikes trying to block the attack.

Pyrrhus repositions his right
On the Roman right the Triarii advanced smartly to cut down the Greek cavalry's space and threaten the left of the phalanx.

Roman right counters the Greek advances. 

The Pyrrhic forces advanced at full speed in the centre seeking battle in the centre where they had a clear edge.

Trundle trundle

Heavy metal on the move - well mostly resin actually...
On the Roman left the horse advanced in pursuit of the Successors lights and in attempt to get beyond the phalanx's flank. A good plan usually but on this occasion they probably overran and ended-up too far towards table edge.

Roman horse chases down some skirmishers

Spanish move up but are blocked by some pikes 

Rather penned-in the Roman HC found themselves under threat from the flanks and under sustained, but largely unproductive, archery fire. As the mists cleared the Spanish caught against the elite pike, one unit of HC was routed by a rear Light Infantry charge and the second being lined-up by the Companions. Not a great mid-game on the Roman left.  

Companions covering the flanks

Spot of bother for the Roman lef
As the main heavy infantry lines came together the early action went in favour of Rome. The elephants took heavy damage and as some of the pikes were deployed wide to extend the line they faced two opponents.    

The hit comes in - Romans ahead at the start

Elephants are roughly handled 

On the Roman left the Greeks were able to perform a combat and bear-down on the Triarii flanks.  

The flank is turned

The Triarii quickly fell but in a rare stroke of luck, fire from the bolt shooters in the camp was able to destroy the weakened Greeks and prevent them causing further damage. The respite was temporary though  and losses in the centre combined with the destruction of the cavalry meant a 7-5 loss for the Romans.

Gaps open on both sides

The Roman line crumbles
It is hard to point to a single error that led to Roman defeat, rather a number of bad manoeuvres and some rules mistakes that allowed the Successors to escape harm at key points.

The final verdict 

So the campaign ended 3-2 in favour of Pyrrhus with Romans and Carthaginians each recording a win, which is an improvement on history. 

The Pyrrhic army is a potent one although elephants are less deadly in Armati than they proved in the historic wars. Its main issue is that the infantry is costly and so the line will always be shorter than the enemies.