Tally Ho!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Mark II Flying Carpets

I've been working on a  few painting projects recently and one of them is some additional flying carpets for my Kings of War Arabian army. As you can see the Mark II version features two crew members, one with a bow. The intent is something more akin to a classic chariot crew.

The basing allows me to use them either as additional flying units or to field them as a chariot horde.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Saga - first impressions

Image result for saga wargame rulesThis weekend found me in Fishponds again with a chance to try-out Gripping Beasts' Saga dark ages skirmish rules. I've seen them at lots of shows over the last few years but not got around to playing them for myself.

Image result for saga battle boardThe game uses small units of figures from 4 - 12 strong, with lower quality troops usually appearing in larger units than the more elite troops. The basic rules are a super-simple IGOUGO structure with very simple combat rules. At the heart of the though system is the use of "Saga Dice" and "Battle Boards". Players throw up to 6 Saga Dice a turn with each having 3 * uncommon symbols, 2 * common symbols, and 1 * rare symbol each. The dice are then positioned on the battle board before each move to allow you active troops, perform special abilities, or even interrupt the opponents turn.

Another interesting twist is that units accumulate Fatigue points as they fight or move rapidly, with up to 3 being stacked until you must rest. However the Fatigue can be spent by your opponent at any point to slow you down or maker you less effective in combat.  

I found myself using the Viking faction which has mostly attack oriented special abilities on its battle board, allowing me more chances to attack my opponent or to sacrifice troops to go into various berserk rages. I was faced with Saxons how have a very defensive board that allows them to save wounds more effectively or stack Fatigue on their opponents to slow them down.  

So to the game - a simple scenario in which we each had to kill the others Warlord. Sides were even with 1 * warlord, 1 * heardguard (4), 2 * warriors (6), and 1 * levies with misses (12) per side.

The Saxons form a strong looking line

My Vikings in a deep formation
I opened proceedings by attacking the Saxon archers with my levy javelin men. I beat them back but was then mauled by a unit of advancing Saxon warriors. I eventually succumbed to them but crucially did them enough damage that they in turn fell to my own warriors.    

My skirmishers advance

The field once my warriors had killed their opposite numbers 
At this point I was feeling fairly confident - I had 3 heavy units to my opponents 2, So I attacked with vigour, killed his hearthguard, and wounded his warlord. With time running-out I attacked his warlord with my own in single combat. The result was mutual annihilation and so a friendly draw.  

Viking hearthgurads 

It was an interesting first outing for Saga, and we certainly had an enjoyable game played over about 2.5 hours. The key to the game is using the battle board correctly and in some cases you need to be planning 2 moves ahead to get the best from your abilities or build powerful combinations.

It likely works best as a 1-1 game as the interactions between the opponents and your abilities are where the subtly come into the game. A nice feature is that you have abilities that occur in the opponent's turn and you can spend their Fatigue so you can nt just zone-out while they move.

One to try for a mini campaign and I think I can field an Irish force without much effort

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Strike Fast ECW Campaign - week 5

In the last battle Cromwell was thwarted in his attempts to rout the Scottish army blocking his advance towards Edinburgh. So Cromwell sort to out manoeuvre them but found himself blocked again. So it was we undertook the second battle in the Lothian region.

The terrain for this battle was very open. The English had a few low hills within their deployment zone whilst the Scots position was anchored by two small farms. The Scots mingled their cavalry with infantry across the line whilst the English massed theirs on the left with support from the NMA foot. The plans were set with the Scots largely deployed for a defensive action with a few spoiling attacks. The English opted for a major push of their left and delaying action on the right.        
Field from the English left

Field from the English right

The main English attack

English right ready for a delaying action - its commander in relaxed mood
On the English right the Scots decided to launch an immediate attack seeing they out numbered their opponents. Their quick advance caught some English dragoons by surprise and quickly routed them.

English right under pressure
On their left the English launched an attack of their own which quickly drove the Scots cavalry and infantry guarding the flank from the field and opened the way for the NMA foot to advance towards the Highlanders forming the front rank.

Cromwell's horse push the enemy back

NMA foot press the advantage

NMA foot bearing down on their foes

In previous battles the Highlanders have proved deadly but a series of coordinated cavalry attacks and infantry volleys sent them reeling backwards from the advancing English foot. Meanwhile over on the right the outnumbered English proved more resilient than expected as they held-up the Scots attack.

Scots in trouble

English right holding on 

English right under much pressure but holding its own

In a couple of decisive turns the English of the left were able to put much of the Scots opposing them to flight and threaten the raw troops forming the second line.  

Highlanders put to flight

Scots main defensive position on their right falls

With the light beginning to fade the English were 11-3 ahead on routed units and so were able to claim the victory. The post game analysis was that is was actually rather closer than the 11-3 margin suggests but the English had been able to develop their attack much more rapidly that the Scots and so would reach the 13 routers required for outright victory before the Scots could get to 10.  

NMA advance from the Scots view point

The Scots attack 

Royalists last stand

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Strike Fast ECw Campaign - week 4

Now that Cromwell had secured his supply-lines into England he turned his gaze towards Edinburgh. So week 4 saw an attack towards the Covenanter stronghold which was intercepted by the main Scottish army. Following several  lacklustre showings by the Scots we modified the army lists to reduce the Horse, reduce the Highlanders, but increase the pike & shot.

The terrain for this game was slightly unusual - one flank was blocked by a river and some wooded areas. The other flank was pretty open whilst the centre was dominated by a large T-shaped hill.

Table from the Scots right
Finding themselves with the larger force the Scots deployed their infantry 3 ranks deep with the Highlanders in the centre of the front rank. The Horse was split between the two flanks.

Scots left

Scots centre-left

Scots centre-right

Scots right
 The English plan was to focus their more limited, but higher quality, forces against one side and seek to delay the other. So it was they massed most of the Horse and most of the infantry against the open ground on their left. A small all-arms force including the Dragoons and Storming Party would try to hold the weakened right flank.
English left - the main cavalry attack 

English centre-left ready to assault

English centre-right

Dragoons and Horse on the English right
 The Scots had the early initiative and advanced promptly against the outnumbered English right and in the centre with the Highlanders, backed by lowland foot. The force was with the Scots Horse who caught the Ironsides at the halt.

Ironsides hit at the halt

Highlanders lead the advance 
 Cromwell's veteran troopers resisted the early Scots attack and with the help of supporting Dragoons forced them backwards before breaking them to open-up the left flank. In the centre the Highlanders crunched into the first line of English foot whilst of the right both sides remaining Horse traded blows.

Ironsides rout the enemy

Centres clash

English delaying on their right
 In the centre the Highlanders proved their worth pushing back the English foot and so forcing them to deploy reserves to stem the flow. Eventually the Highlanders were routed but the exhausted English foot were then forced to reform and face the ongoing lowland foot.

Highlanders pressing on but a little isolated

Highlanders pushed back

The English right is outflanked 

Over on the English left the Ironsides had routed all the Scots Horse and so turned their attention to some isolated lowland foot. This forced the Scots to close-off their right flank and reform their defensive line.

Scots put to the sword on the English left, opening up the flank

All rather messy in the centre
 Although the English left was going well they were in trouble on the right with Scots cavalry forming on their flank and lowland units pressing forward against them.

Not looking good on the English right 

As darkness began to fall both sides were in danger on their rights but winning on their lefts. Both were also 3 routs from their breakpoint. With the result in so much doubt a draw was declared, which left the Scots in possession of Edinburgh.

Some Royalist supporting lowlanders

English foot face-off against Irish mercenaries

English catch some Scots isolated