Tally Ho!

Monday 28 August 2017

Bank holiday game - War of the Roses

Rather than risk the Bank Holiday traffic we assembled on a lovely day for some War of the Roses action. We've previously used Bloody Barons (Peter Pig) but on this occasion opted to test out some modifications for Dux Bellorum Luddite1811's blog.

We opted to fight a short introductory battle as a reminder of the rules and then a larger encounter as the main event. The only change we made from  Dux Bellorum was to assign 5 leadership points to each general rather than 6 as the armies would likely contain less units than the Dark Ages version had assumed.

The preview

Our first game was a small 32 point / side affair with the Yorkist's commanded by Mike and the Lancastrians by Nigel. York was immediately on the attack with their light horse pushing towards the  flanks while the archers opened-up on the Lancastrians pike men. 

Yorkist horse move to threaten the levy archers

And then crunch into them 

The Lancastrian pikes lumber forward
As the pikemen approached the Yorkist line they used the Passage of Foot special rule to bring forward the billmen and household troops to engage the Lancastrians heavy infantry.

Yorkist foot attack

Battle is joined in the centre

The Lancastrians managed to achieve a flanking position but were in turn flanked themselves. Meanwhile the Lancastrian foot were steady pushed back resulting in the death of their general and the army reaching the 50% point. now lacking any leadership points it was a hopeless position.

Desperate struggle in which Nigel's general dies 

The end is nigh
So the game ended with a clear Yorkist victory. There being no obvious defects we deployed for the main game.

Capture the King

For the main battle we played a simple scenario where the Yorkist's tried to capture the Lancastrians King. All players received 32 points to spend on troops.We allowed 3 shots per missile unit to encourage combat.

Given a free choice of forces the players made rather different choices with their points. The Lancastrians went heavy on the pikes and fielded four units supported by some pointed. The balance was made-up with levy and retinue troops. 

Lancastrian left - pikes and some bows

Lancastrian centre - more pikes and a line of archers in front

Lancastrian right - pikes and knights but not much shooting
The Yorkist's opted for a higher proportion of missile troops with no cavalry and only one pike unit. They did however throw-in a few crossbow units.   

Yorkist left - retinue bows backed by heavies 

Yorkist centre - retinue bows backed by billmen

Yorkist - crossbows and bows backed by heavies

Long shot from the Lancastrian right 
The battle began with the Lancastrians pushing forward on their flanks while both the retinues  in the centre advanced towards the hill.  
The lines advance

Lancastrians close in on the Yorkist right

The Yorkist claim the hill

In traditional fashion we then indulged in a long-range archery duel which had limited impact. the ability to use leadership points to mitigate hits meant it was hard to achieve a decisive edge. Ominously the Lancastrian left chose to hold fire and close the range seeking a better target.

Lancastrian right moves forward cautiously

Tally ho - Lancastrian knights

On the Yorkist right the lines closed rapidly with the Lancastrian pikes leading the way with the archers protecting their flanks. This encounter went badly for the Yorkist as the Lancastrian steam roller trundled over them suffering limited casualties.
Yorkist right - not looking good for the white rose

In the centre the Yorkist were able to get the drop on the Lancastrian and using the Passage of Troops rule surprise the Lancastrian archers who had strayed too close.

Yorkist billmen launch a surprise attack on the Lancastrian bows in the centre

Whilst on the Yorkist left the archers and crossbowmen found themselves up against the heavier Lancastrian units having done only limited shooting damage.

Lancastrian right crunches into the Yorkist bowmen 

After a couple more turns the Yorkist right had completely collapsed forcing the retinue archers from the centre to move across.  Using their greater manoeuvrability the archers were able to catch the pike men in the flank but did only limited damage.

The Yorkist right is blown away

A sneaky flank attack on the Lancastrian pikes

In the centre the Yorkist's continued to push forward and picked off several units of archers. however on their left their comrades succumbed to the heavier Lancastrian troops.   

Yorkist's make progress in the centre
Yorkist left is also blown away

So with the two flanks shattered and the Lancastrian King in no danger the game was called a Lancastrian win.

The Verdict

A fun game and we managed to conclude the main battle within about 2 hours. There was a great deal of debate about the merits of different rules for handling the pikes but in the end we concluded it may be best not to obsess over them and simply limit the numbers more strictly.

Crossbows require more attention though. Their limited aggression and no passage of troops ability made them easy-meat and unable to shoot-down the approaching knights. On balance we felt they might work better with the same stats but designated as Skirmishers.


Saturday 26 August 2017

Persian flying carpets in 28mm

Ever since deciding to put together a fantasy Persian army for my Kings of War struggles, I've been pondering how to construct some flying carpets to provide some essential colour for what is essentially an early middle ages Islamic force. Below is my attempt at this.
The major issue to resolve is how to make the carpets themselves so they are light, strong, but can be sculpted to have some waves in them. In the end I settled on some fairly thick plastic. Total cost was about £2 for unit, although I had some of the components already.

The Components     

So for this build I used
  • 3 plastic bases cut to be 30mm x 40mm
  • 3 plastic wine-glasses  - just the slot-on bases are needed
  • 1 clear plastic pen
  • A printer to make the patterns    

The Build

The flying stands were simplicity themselves - all you need are some lengths cut from the clear plastic pen body and then glued into the wine-glass bases. Lacking a hot-air gun I boiled the plastic bases for about 5 minutes and then bent them at the ends to create a wave effect. As you can see some of the end distorted so a little trimming was needed afterwards.

The moulded bases ready for gluing

I chose to drill holes right through the carpets and then glue them to the top of the stands for additional strength over a simple butt-joint.

Completed carpets ready for painting

For the carpets themselves I opted to glue some pictures obtained from the Internet directly onto the surface of the plastic base, then trim away the excess afterwards. I just modeled the top of the carpets and painted the underside a suitable colour.

Printed tops ready to be glued on

Finished carpets

To complete the unit I painted some plastic Gripping Beast Arab infantry as these are what I had to hand. However the carpets are pretty robust and would easily cope with a metal figure.
The crew 

 The Finish Unit

The completed unit is done as a Large Cavalry Horde in Kings of War parlance. I've depicted all the crew with missile weapons as I struggle to see how a carpet would "charge" a body of formed men without coming off worse.  So they likely be used to depict a missile-armed unit.
The completed carpet squadron

Close-up of the crew


Friday 18 August 2017

28mm Arabs / Persians

With the longer summer nights my latest painting project has been progressing well. I'm working on an army that can pull a double duty - both as opponents for Early Crusaders in an upcoming Armati campaign and as fantasy Persians in Kings of War. Now the core units are complete I can progress the more fantastical elements such as flying carpets.

The historical infantry

Black Guards (FT / spears and LI / bow in Armati)

Skirmishers (SI / bow in Armati)

Arab foot (more FT / spears and LI / bows) 

Some swordsmen - these are destine to be assassins for KOW

The historical cavalry

Mix light cavalry (LC / bow or spear)

Persian heavy cavalry, destined to be Ghulams
The Kings of War elements - at this stage just some sabot bases so that the units based for Armati are usable.
Horde, Regiment and Troop sabot bases

Kings guard regiment

Arquebusier regiment

Berserker troop